DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Neighbors along Earlywood Drive in Dallas kept asking the same question: Why would anyone murder 79-year-old Avanell Cowgill?

Police in Dallas were called to the Cowgill’s home near Northwest Highway and Jupiter Road on Saturday night for a welfare check. At her home, an officer discovered her back door open and Cowgill murdered inside. Investigators said that it appears as if someone broke into her home, possibly to commit burglary, and, during a struggle with the 79-year-old widow, killed her.

“It’s just unimaginable,” said Jerry Calder, who lives next door and has known Cowgill for more than 20 years. “What kind of threat could she have possibly been for someone to do that?”

While investigators looked for clues inside of her east Dallas home on Sunday morning, Cowgill should have been on her way to church. She, along with her late husband, had attended Casa Linda United Methodist Church since it opened in 1951. Cowgill was there every Sunday, along with every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. “She was the first person to open the building on Sunday and, if you needed anything, she was the first person to say, ‘I can do it,’” said Rev. David Rangel.

The pastor said that nobody volunteered more than Cowgill. Church members, he said, would call her the “Cookie Lady” because Cowgill was always baking cookies for church functions. Rangel explained that he broke the news of her death to the congregation during Sunday’s service.

Oak Farms Dairy has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. Anyone with information is urged to call the Dallas Police Department at 214-671-3661.

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