Texas police pursuing murder charges for neighbor after woman, 70, is found dead

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Police in Texas who are investigating the death of a 70-year-old woman tell Fox News they are pursuing a murder charge against a neighbor who lives with his mother two doors down. 

Gilbert Viera, as of Tuesday, remains a person of interest after Patrice Ward was discovered dead inside her townhome last week in Pasadena. Investigators say Ward suffered severe blunt force trauma to her head and that her home was found ransacked with numerous items missing – including two handguns.  

Pasadena Police Sgt. Raul Granados told Fox News on Tuesday that his department is pursuing a murder charge against Viera, 35, who was arrested in relation to an alleged home invasion nearby. The motive for Ward’s death is unclear and remains under investigation. 

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In a statement, Pasadena Police say they were first called to Ward’s townhome last Tuesday after her housekeeper reported finding her unresponsive.  

Then, early Thursday morning, police say they received a call “from a female stating that an unknown male forced entry into her home by kicking in the front door then assaulted her and her husband with a tire iron.” 

That man, police say, was Viera. 

“The husband was able to fight off the suspect, who then stole the victim’s vehicle and fled in an unknown direction,” the department said in the statement. 

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Pasadena Police say a handgun that Viera left behind at that property was later determined to be one of the two allegedly stolen from Ward’s townhome. 

Investigators eventually spotted the victim’s vehicle in Ward’s complex and say they were led to Viera after locating a trail of blood leading to the back door of his residence.  

Viera is now being held at Harris County Jail on two counts of aggravated assault and burglary with the intent to commit a felony, records show.  

Granados tells Fox News that the motive for the alleged home invasion also is unclear. 

Police separately told Fox26 Houston that Viera had only been out of jail for a few months after serving a four-year sentence for a past burglary conviction. 

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Other neighbors of Ward say they are heartbroken in the wake of her death. 

“We went to church together. We were friends, and it’s very difficult because I wake up at night and I can’t sleep anymore,” one neighbor, who asked not be named, told Fox26 Houston. 

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