SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It has been five weeks to the day since someone beat and stabbed 84-year-old Lois Hickey to death inside her Mishawaka home and police are still searching for her killer.
Today, investigators said DNA evidence proved a man murdered Hickey during the home invasion on December 29th. Police say the suspect's blood was found outside the house, near the front window where it is believe the intruder broke into the house, as well as next to Hickey's body.
Right now, police are running those blood samples through a national database to see if a match can be found.
In the meantime, the Mishawaka Police Department is taking extra steps to make sure people living on and around East Donaldson Avenue feel safe even though the killer is still on the loose.
There are a lot of elderly people who live along the street, and they are scared they could be next. Police say they are well aware of those fears, which is why the police department has decided to increase its patrols in area and their added presence has not gone unnoticed.
"See right here, there goes a police officer right now. We have definitely noticed the added presence. That couldn't have happened at a better time, but yea we have seen them ever since," says neighbor Ryan Gunn.
Ryan Gunn is a single father living with his son Zane. He has lived in his home off Donaldson Avenue for seven years and says until now he has never seen nor had to worry about violent crimes happening his neighborhood.
"It really wasn't expected, she was a very nice lady and I think people were just shocked," says Gunn.
Since Hickey's murder, Gunn has been more concerned about leaving his elderly mother and son alone during the week when his mother since his mom comes over to babysit. That is why Gunn and his family have started taken extra precautions of their own. Gunn has even made it a point to check on his elderly neighbors as well, but he says it is police efforts that really makes the difference.
"The extra presence does help alleviate a lot of the concerns in the neighborhood because there is a lot of elderly in the neighborhood," says Gunn.
Mishawaka's police chief says It is not just the police presence that is visible to neighbors, but also says there are unmarked cars patrolling the area now.