Woman, 82, beaten to death in Chicago Heights

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An 82-year-old woman was beaten to death Sunday afternoon in south suburban Chicago Heights. (WLS)

An 82-year-old woman was beaten to death Sunday afternoon in south suburban Chicago Heights.

Officers responded about 5:15 p.m. following a 911 call that a person had fallen down stairs at a home in the 2300 block of South Halsted, according to Chicago Heights police.

Australia Landingham was found unresponsive at her home in the block when emergency responders arrived, according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her family said there were no signs of forced entry at the home, and the doors and windows appeared to be locked from the inside. Family members also said whoever killed Landingham seemed to be familiar with the layout of the home.

"I been knowing them for a long time. And I come out, come to the window and I see all the police cars and all the people out down there," said neighbor Albert Parks.

"I can't even put it into words, how could you just to do something like that, what was the reason," Amber Cremer, neighbor, said.

An autopsy Monday found she died from multiple blunt force injuries in an assault, the medical examiner's office said. Her death was ruled a homicide.

"I wish I hadn't found her," said her daughter Crystal Landingham. "You got to be real sick in the head to do that to somebody, an elderly person at that. A helpless person at that. She could barely walk sometimes."

"She was 82 years old, why would you do that, crush her skull like that, knock all her teeth out of her head. How could you, as a human, do this to someone," said Marshon Terry, niece.

"My sister was a good-hearted person and was really sweet, you know, and the way they took her life, and the way they did her... I haven't gotten over it yet," said Beatrice Moore, sister.

"She was a kind, sweet, loving person," said her husband Walter Landingham.

Landingham celebrated her birthday earlier in May and was looking forward to celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary on Friday.

"Something like this here to happen to her, as good as she was to everybody. It's a shame, and a low down dirty shame," Walter said.

Landingham is survived by her husband, her daughter, and a niece and nephew who she adopted as children. The family is planning a prayer vigil Wednesday.

Chicago Heights police were working with the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force and Illinois State Police to investigate the case. Anyone with information was asked to call detectives at (708) 756-6422.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
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homicidemurderbeating deathelderly womanChicago Heights
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