ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - St. Petersburg Police have announced that a once "suspicious" death of an elderly woman is now a homicide case.
76-year-old Barbara Brylka was found dead in her home Sunday afternoon. For 24-plus hours, police worked to find out if foul play was involved. After learning that someone else is responsible for her death, now, the focus turns to finding out who did it.
Sunday afternoon, St. Petersburg Police got a call from a concerned neighbor at Pinewood Village Mobile Home Park, off Gandy Boulevard. They were worried about Brylka because they hadn't seen her in days.
"We went out to the scene and we went inside her mobile home and we discovered her dead and there were suspicious circumstances at the scene that caused our officers to call in investigators," said Yolanda Fernandez, public information officer for St. Petersburg police.
For more than a day, Crime Scene Investigators with St. Pete police and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office went in and out of Brylka's home on Poplar Street NE, collecting forensic evidence and talking to neighbors.
"As far as we know, she's 76 years old and lives alone in the mobile home," Fernandez said.
Investigators also focused their attention on a community dumpster in case something inside could be a clue.
Neighbors said Brylka kept mostly to herself and didn't venture out much with her walker.
"The irony is, from what I heard, she was supposed to close on the house today I think," said neighbor Nile Lane.
Lane was stunned by the circumstances of Brylka's death.
"It's usually quiet. I've never even had anything stolen out of the carport. I love the little place you know?" Lane said.
Police are now asking neighbors to rack their brains and try to remember any recent sights or sounds that might've seemed suspicious.
"It's important to know what her regular habits are, the last time someone saw her alive, what was she doing, had she had any visitors, had they seen or heard anyone unusual come through the mobile home park that's not normally there or if someone regularly visits her, who that person might be," Fernandez said.
Anyone with a tip or information on the case is asked to call the St. Petersburg Police Dept. at 727-893-7780.