The death of a 81-year-old woman who had suffered burns and was found dead in her home in Woodland Hills has been ruled a homicide, county authorities said.
A family member of the victim called police at 7:48 p.m. Tuesday, and officers went to the 208000 block of Martha Street, north of Burbank Boulevard, and found the woman in a bedroom, Officer Annie Hernandez of the Los Angeles Police Department told City News Service.
Ok Ja Kim was pronounced dead at the scene, Hernandez said.
“Upon arrival, the officers observed evidence of forced entry and of a possible burglary,” Hernandez said in a statement. “Officers located the victim in her bedroom, laying on the ground, and half her body under her bed. She was semi-charred, unconscious and not breathing. …
“Detectives were advised that a family member went to the victim’s residence, found her deceased in her bedroom and saw evidence of a fire,” Hernandez said. “Her family member then called 911.”
Kim died of “sharp and blunt force injuries with ligature strangulation,” according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office.
Detectives canvassed the neighborhood for surveillance cameras, possible witnesses and evidence.
“The exact cause of death at the moment is unknown,” Hernandez said. “There is no suspect information.”
Police earlier said the home had been ransacked and the victim had been set on fire.
“It’s generally a quiet neighborhood,” LAPD Detective Sharon Kim told Fox 11. “(It’s) upper middle class, so a crime like this that’s violent is pretty unusual for this neighborhood.
“I have noticed that there is a large transient population in this neighborhood, and we’re not sure if that might be related, but that’s something we all have to be aware of when we’re coming from and going to our homes,” Kim said.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call LAPD Valley Bureau homicide detectives at 818-374-9550, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.