Community mourns woman found beaten to death in Hunting Park

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It was a busy 24 hours for homicide investigators Thursday who went from one murder scene to another.

In particular, the 25th District, the sight of three homicides, including that of a community icon beloved by many.

There is pain and shock on the 3700 block of North Percy, where 49-year-old Ruth Ann Burnett called home.

Friends, family and neighbors remember her as a community leader who touched many lives in the 43rd Ward.

"She was a great committee person, she was a block captain, she gave lunches out. Always cleaning. She never said 'No' when you needed help," said Emilio Vasques, 43rd Ward Leader.

Just after 1 p.m. Thursday, Burnett was found severely beaten in her second-floor bedroom.

"It just don't make no sense for a person to leave this Earth like that. A beautiful person. A God-given woman. It hurts my heart that she's not here no more," said Emma Holmes, cousin.

Burnett was a devoted member of the Solomon Baptist Church, just up the street on Erie.

"She was a gem. She was good," said Deacon Kevin Walker.
Presently, police have no suspects, but they'd like to question Burnett's boyfriend whom family and neighbors says she was having some problems with.

"He was just out here with her. The neighbors seen both of them outside this morning," said Carol Burnett, victim's sister.

"I don't know, nobody's seen him. We've been looking for him all day," said friend Bernice Sanders when asked where Ruth's boyfriend was.

Burnett's murder was the fourth in the city Thursday since midnight.

Not too far in the 3200 block of H Street, a man in his 20s was shot dead in the hip and back, and in the 2900 block of Mascher, a 22-year-old man was shot multiple times in the head and body at 1:33 a.m.

Less than an hour earlier, in the 2200 block of Wanamaker, another 22-year-old man was shot multiple times in the head while driving his car. He later crashed into two parked cars while on his way to visit his girlfriend.

Burnett's son-in-law Santee Weddington says he's been to 12 funerals so far this year. Now he's preparing for number 13.

"The streets don't care, and you have a lot of people out here that's just for themselves, but they don't care who they step on to get where they gotta go," said Weddington.

With Burnett's killer still unknown, family, friends and neighbors are hoping police close in on one soon.

They have their own suspicions, but they'll let police do their investigation.
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