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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Murder of 85-year-old has community on alert

Right: Pearl Arthaud

Beuhler Kansas
May 20, 2008

Police stall connecting the dots between the dots of three elderly women.

BUHLER, Kansas, May 20, 2008 – The murder of an elderly Reno County woman has authorities wondering if a serial attacker is on the loose.

A task force is now investigating whether several recent attacks are the work of one person.
Sunday morning, family members went to pick up 85-year-old Pearl Arthaud from her independent living residence at the Sunshine Meadows Retirement Community. But a joyous outing to church turned into a day of horror.

"Went to the door and it was unlocked, and they went in and found her dead in her bedroom,” said Keith Pankratz with Sunshine Meadows Retirement Community.

Although authorities are not releasing an official cause of death, autopsy results reveal Arthaud was assaulted.

"Everybody is just shocked about it; they can't believe it,” said Sunshine resident Archie Smith.
The homicide in Buhler has authorities looking at several other cases throughout Reno County in which elderly women were attacked. Those cases include two incidents in both Hutchinson and south Hutchinson that occurred within just the last couple of months.

Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder won’t say what the similarities are between the cases, but he says there are enough similarities to warrant the formation of a multi-agency task force that includes the KBI.

"We certainly want to catch this guy, if we can establish these cases are connected, we want to find this person before anybody else gets hurt,” Schroeder said.

After learning of the other attacks in the county, the management at Sunshine Meadows warned independent residents to be on heightened alert.

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