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Inside the Evidence: Rochester grandmother murdered

February 22, 2018 06:56 AM

An innocent, elderly woman was killed in her apartment in Rochester nearly 22 years ago. Horrie Lee Hardaway's murder has never been solved, and to this day -- police have no motive. 

For the first time, Rochester Police take us step by step through the evidence in hopes of finding out who killed the 75-year-old grandmother.  

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It happened in November of 1996. Police say Hardaway was found murdered - lying on the living room floor of her apartment at Plymouth Gardens. It's a high rise apartment building for senior citizens on South Plymouth Avenue. The cause of death? Blunt force trauma to the head.  

"They've taken away our mother, our grandmother, our backbone, our strength," said Hardaway's daughter Sharon Reyes on the day her mother was found. "They took her away from us, and it's not right. It's just not right."

Reyes has since passed away. She will never know if the killer will be brought to justice.

"The biggest question is why? Why would you do this to this woman who's done nothing to anyone," said RPD Investigator Melissa Frasca. "It just doesn't make any sense."

Investigator Frasca and Sgt. Flamur Zenelovic have not given up on solving this cold case. 

"It's bothersome," said Sgt. Zenelovic. "I think of my 75 year old grandmother and how I would feel knowing this person has not been brought to justice and is still out in society among us."

Nothing substantial was missing from Hardaway's apartment. On top of that, investigators believe she opened her door for the suspect -- making them believe she knew her killer. 

"My mother don't open the door for nobody," said one of Hardaway's sons. "She looks through a peep hole." 

Investigators showed News10NBC pictures from the crime scene. 

"This shows that there was no forced entry. Blood in the stairwell from the suspect after leaving the apartment," explained Investigator Frasca. 

"You can see the victim's blood is on the pillow," added Sgt. Zenelovic. "The victim's blood is castoff on this bleach bottle, and some of the other items here." 

News10NBC spoke with then Rochester Police Chief Robert Warshaw days after the murder.'

"We're very hopeful based upon certain information we have and certain things we're aware of regarding the crime scene," said Chief Warshaw back in 1996.

Nearly 22 years later, we asked if there are any suspects. 

"There are a couple of people of interest," said Investigator Frasca. "They were persons of interest back then, and they're still people we're looking into now."

They won't name those possible suspects, but the Hardaway family believes a relative who still lives in Rochester is the killer. However, police need evidence to convict. 

"It's one of those cases we would love to solve if for nothing else than to bring the person to justice who was coward enough to attack and murder a 75 year old woman -- defenseless, elderly, at risk and certainly preyed upon by the suspect who committed that horrible act of violence," said Sgt. Zenelovic.

Tragedy continues to follow the Hardaway family. Horrie Hardaway's son Thomas Hardaway was shot and killed at his own home on Bernard Street in Rochester last September. In that case, both suspects are facing murder charges. One has already pleaded guilty. 

But the family wants justice for their mother as well. If you have any information,  you're asked to call RPD's Major Crimes Unit at (585) 428-7157.  

RELATED: Web Extra: Horrie Hardaway cold case

Credits

Nikki Rudd

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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