Elderly Clarksdale Woman Robbed, Murdered, Set on Fire

(Clarksdale, MS) An unthinkable crime rocked the town of Clarksdale, Mississippi. Police say an elderly woman was robbed, killed, and then set on fire. Investigators say it was all the work of a teenager.

People around town are filled with disgust. They can't believe what happened to the woman inside her own home.

There's no telling the memories the old house sitting on the corner of First St. and Issaquena holds, but whatever they are, those memories will forever be shadowed by the brutal murder of its elderly owner.

“It’s a shock to me, it’s a shock to the community, and we all hate it,” said Hal Hubbard, a friend of the victim.

Clarksdale Police say 80-year-old Ethel Lewis was robbed, murdered and her body set on fire Saturday afternoon. Her death devastated people across town. Hubbard knew the elderly woman who lived alone in the home across the street from where he works.

“Nobody should have tried to hurt her,” Hubbard said. “She was kind, she was nice. It's a tragedy and nobody had any business doing that at all.”

Police say a tip led them to Lewis’ home Saturday afternoon. When they got there, her body was still on fire and her car was gone. 

Mississippi Highway Patrol spotted the Toyota Avalon in nearby Sunflower County. Inside, were a 17-year-old and three others. When they saw police, they ditched the car and made a run for it. Officers eventually caught up with them.

“I am very glad for that because my people were scared here to come to work because if he was still at large, we didn't know if he would be over here next, but since they got him that eased it up some,” said Hubbard.

But, he says no amount justice in this case can replace the life of a sweet lady, “We are praying for her we're thinking about her. It's a tragedy and a shock to all of us.”

Investigators only arrested the 17-year-old in this case. They let the three others go because they don't believe they were involved. The 17-year-old is expected to be charged tomorrow as an adult with capital murder.

Meanwhile, News Channel 3 is told the only family Mrs. Lewis had is a nephew in Greenwood, Mississippi.

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