South Side woman found beaten to death

March 22, 2011 9:50:14 AM PDT
Chicago police are looking for suspects after a woman was found beaten to death in her South Side apartment.

The victim, who lived in the 1500-block of East 65th Street, was 47 years old. No one was in custody Tuesday the investigation continued. Relatives say police have questioned the victim's son.

Meanwhile, friends and family members say Barbara Burden, also known as Barbara Ann Smith, was well liked, and everyone in the Woodlawn neighborhood knew her.

"A wonderful girl growing up, trying to take care of herself and her family," said cousin and pastor Willie Green, Jr. " This is a shock to everyone."

Burden shared the apartment with her son. He reportedly could not get the door to their home open and asked his uncle and the landlord to let him in. That's when they discovered the victim. Police say she was beaten.

According to authorities, Burden was found dead in the bathroom of her apartment at approximately 8 p.m. Monday. There was apparently no forced entry into any of her doors, suggesting she was familiar with her killer.

Green says he saw his first cousin a few weeks ago. Now, police are investigating her murder.

"I know her son had been away, 21 years old, and he came home looking to get in. And he called her sisters trying to get in, and they took him immediately for questioning," said Green.

Detectives spent several hours late Monday and early Monday searching for clues and talking to neighbors.

"It has to be someone that she was close with or that she knew, but it's just eerie because that's right next door to you. That hits home," said neighbor Kareem Lewis.

Some neighbors also said the victim used to help out with the building by cleaning the hallways and shoveling snow in the winter.

"I didn't sleep good. I'm just wondering. I don't understand why somebody had to do something like that to her," said neighbor Tamela Kimmons.

Neighbors say they never heard yelling or noise before Burden's body was found. They described the woman a kind-hearted lady who did not deserve to die.

Family members, in the mean time, say they hope the right person will be apprehended.

"Police don't want to reveal too much because of the investigation. They're looking thoroughly into the situation so that whoever is responsible will come forth," Green said.