Elderly woman's death ruled a homicide in Paulsboro

June 29, 2012 1:30:48 PM PDT
A nerve-racked son, 51-year-old Barry Sweeten, checked himself out of the hospital to return to the home he shares with his mother.

"I couldn't understand. Why would someone want to kill an old lady like that?" Barry Sweeten said.

79-year-old Thirza Sweeten was found beaten to death last night by his sister who went to the home after being unable to reach her by phone.

Lisa's husband, Derrick Montalto, says she knew there was something wrong almost immediately:

"She put the key in the backdoor and it just opened, she went in, saying 'Mom, Mom, Mom.' No one answered," Montalto said.

Sweeten appeared to have been beaten to death.

Her son who was in the hospital at the time thinks the killer got in through his bedroom window and that she went to investigate a noise.

Barry Sweeten says neighbors saw a friend of his girlfriend's named Kevin at the house Sunday.

He says his mother had taken an instant dislike for the guy and had told him to stay away.

"My mom's a very good person at picking up attitudes; she knew right away a good person from a bad person," Sweeten said.

Barry says nothing was taken from the house.

Police did take away bags of evidence.

Authorities have been questioning a person of interest, but so far no charges.

Anyone with information is asked to contact authorities at 856-384-5500 or 856-423-1101. Anonymous tips can also be texted. Text GLOTIP + message to CRIMES (274637).