Family says murder victim was trying to help suspect

LAPORTE, Ind. -- Family members of the woman whose body was found in the freezer of her LaPorte home say she was trying to get the suspect's life on track and that's what got her killed.

Birdie Elder lived in her McClung Road home for more than 30 years. The 73-year-old's body was discovered inside her upright freezer.

"She was the best person in the world. She would do anything for anybody. And that's how he ended up here," said Sandy Elder Cauffman, Birdie's daughter.

Cauffman said her mother allowed 47-year-old Daniel Shoffner to move in a few months ago. Birdie was friends with his father and felt she could help turn Shoffner away from a life of crime and drugs, family members said.

"I tried my hardest to get mom away from him," said Cauffman.

Birdie's grandson says it put a huge strain on a family.

He even tried to step in by calling police, but says police couldn't do much to help.

"Basically we didn't like him so we weren't allowed to come around that much because we couldn't accept the guy," said Randall Elder, Birdie's grandson.

Cauffman says she still talked to her mom regularly.

Even though she didn't like Shoffner, she says she didn't think it would end this way.

"She was my best friend until he came along. Her and I did everything together," said Cauffman.

The family says the coroner is transferring birdie's body to Mishawaka because it requires a more extensive autopsy.

Shoffner wa charged with murder in Birdie's death Tuesday afternoon.

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