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Great-grandmother stabbed to death

SNELLVILLE - Who would fatally stab a great-grandmother as she lay sleeping in bed?

Snellville police have posed that question in the slaying of Beulah Gotwalt, an 88-year-old widow found by her family with a bloody pillow over her face and multiple stab wounds to her body Sunday morning.

The case seems especially puzzling, an investigator said, because it doesn't appear anyone forced their way into Gotwalt's Oak Meadow Drive home or swiped any of her belongings.

Police have identified several people of interest, but are mum as to who they might be. A motive for Gotwalt's death is unclear, said Snellville police Capt. H.O. Thomas.

"We've done a lot of preliminary work," Thomas said. "We're doing a lot of interviews. It's still in the early stages of the investigation."

Family members told police they last saw the victim alive about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, when she went to bed for the night. As they returned to check on her before noon Sunday, they found the startling scene and called 911, Thomas said.

Family members have told police the victim likely had many good years left, Thomas said.

"She was in pretty good health for an 88-year-old," he said.

Thomas said police have located several weapons capable of Gotwalt's wounds but are awaiting tests to determine if they've found the right one.

The victim's family could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The murder marks the first within Snellville city limits in roughly a year, Thomas said.