ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Roanoke County police continue investigating a homicide that is now nearly two years old. Investigators are still working to figure out why 72-year-old Susan Owen was beaten and left to die in her own backyard.
Investigators say they're still treating the death as an active investigation as they continue to get new tips and information in the case.
The case dates back to Labor Day weekend 2015, when Owen's son Matt says he tried to call his mom several times over the weekend with no answer. On Tuesday, Sept. 8, Matt told investigators he was concerned when he couldn't reach his mother.
Officers with the Roanoke County Police Department responded to Owen's home in the Bridlewood subdivision for a well-being check. Police found her badly beaten in her backyard. She was taken to Carilion Roanoke Memorial for treatment.
Ten days later, on Sept. 18, Owen died from the injuries she sustained in the attack.
With no witnesses and very little physical evidence, police have filed more than three dozen search warrants over the past two years as they continue to investigate. The warrants list evidence taken in the investigation, including cellphone records, social media evidence, a computer and a car.
"Each case is unique," says David McMillan, the commander of criminal investigations for Roanoke County police. "Some take longer than others. If you have a living witness who can tell you who committed the act, those cases are usually solved a lot quicker. This one, we don't have a living witness."
Police have submitted GPS and cellphone tower data in connection to Owen's death. Some of the data from the cellphone towers is still being analyzed.
McMillan says he's been looking into the case from the very beginning. He says a change in DNA testing standards put in place in early 2016 has allowed investigators to get a better look at some of the DNA evidence they have.
"Through out investigative process, we have resubmitted some of our DNA items for the new DNA testing that's out there now," he says. "This is not a cold case. We're still investigating it. It is very important to us."
While no new search warrants have been filed in at least six months, police say they are continuing to schedule interviews as they work to get more information on the case.
Susan's son Matt says he doesn't want to be interviewed, but says he thinks about his mom every day and hopes detectives find whoever was involved.
If you have any information call the Criminal Investigations Division of the Roanoke County Police Department at 540-777-8641, the Emergency Communication Center at 540-562-3265 or the Roanoke Valley Crime Line at 540-344-8500.