Residents of a South Side high-rise were sifting through rumors and few answers Monday after an 87-year-old woman was beaten to death in their building over the weekend.
“She lived on the same floor where I live. She was such a nice lady,” said a man sitting on a bench outside the Lincoln Perry Apartments at 3245 S. Prairie Avenue. “It just brought tears to my eyes when I heard it, I couldn’t believe it.”
Mae Brown was found unresponsive in a wheelchair in her ninth-floor apartment around 3:40 p.m. Saturday after someone told police they couldn’t reach her, officials said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
An autopsy determined Brown suffered head and facial trauma, and her death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Residents told the Sun-Times they had heard rumors about what happened, but nothing official from police. No one was reported in custody.
A man who lived on her floor – who did not want to be identified – said he spoke to Brown often.
“I would talk to her all the time in the laundry room,” he said. “I’d go in there and we’d talk, you know, just talk… Man, I’m telling you, it just took my whole life away.”
Another resident said the attack left him “a bit shaken”.
“Every now and then I make sure the old door is locked,” said Lawrence, who has lived in the building for four years. He did not want his last name used. “Security must be tightened.”
Brenda Perry, 75, has lived in the building for about 15 years and says conditions have deteriorated over the years.
City records show the building has been cited in recent years for malfunctioning elevators and heating units, as well as debris and trash, peeling paint and a lack of smoke detectors.
“When I moved here 15 years ago, it was a beautiful building — clean, beautiful grounds, flowers, trees, everything,” Perry said. “Then they just let it get worse.”