Woman, 89, fatally stabbed in her South Side home; Washington Park fire under investigation

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Neighbors responding to a fire found an 89-year-old woman had been fatally stabbed in her Washington Park apartment. Arson investigators were called to the scene.

Josephine Johnson lived on the first floor of the apartment building she owned in the 5100 block of South Michigan Avenue. Residents in the building said they saw smoke coming from the unit just before 3 a.m. Monday.

George Morris called 911 and then went inside to check on his elderly neighbor. He said he found her body in a pool of blood and it looked like someone had tried to light her on fire.

"No flames, but there were embers on her chest. So I knocked that off her. By that time the fire department was coming," Morris said.

Johnson, who was stabbed several times in her chest and torso, was taken to University of Chicago Hospital, where she later died.

CPD Bomb and Arson investigators were also called to the scene. Sources said the elderly woman's apartment appeared to be ransacked.

While she was small in stature, residents said age didn't slow "Ms. Josephine" down. She did her own yardwork and kept the property clean.

"Ms. Josephine could always be found in church, Sunday after Sunday, reading and studying the word of God, and had a love for people," Jermaine Anderson, Apostolic Faith Church, said.

"She didn't ever have to have a cane or walker. She was always getting around, doing her own work on the apartments. We needed work done, she was able to do it," Teidrick Gilmore, former tenant, said.

Johnson was widowed several years ago. Her tenants were her family, and she called them her godchildren.

"She helped everybody. She didn't have a bad bone in her body," Morris said.

No one is in custody in her murder.
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.