Ballroom dancers remember 79-year-old murder victim in Hedwig Village

Exclusive new insight into the life of a 79-year-old woman who was an accomplished ballroom dancer.

HOUSTON - The search for a killer is on after a woman's brutal murder in Hedwig Village. Friends say Janeil Bernard, 79, who wad found murdered in her home Monday, was an accomplished ballroom dancer.

"She was a beautiful dancer, she was gold level which was the top," said Lee Callaway, President of Houston USA Dance.

Gracing the dance floor, Bernard was known for her skill.

"It's a very, very close knit family," said Callaway.

Ever since she got the call about her murder, phones are ringing with dancers wanting to know why.

Related: Police believe murdered 79-year-old may have known her killer

"I hope they find out who did it and I hope they can find out a reason," she said.

Police are closing in on a timeline. They believe Bernard was murdered sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. Her son was the last person to speak to her Sunday in the early afternoon.

Bernard's maid walked in on the crime scene Monday at her home on Capri Street near I-10 and Voss. Police found no signs of forced entry and they believe Bernard put up a fight before she was beaten and stabbed to death.

"It appeared either she knew this person and let them in, or somehow forgot the door left it unlocked," said Sgt. Marvin Collins, with Hedwig Village Police.

Detectives discovered her stolen red Cadillac ditched off Highway 288 and Almeda Genoa.


"I was driving home last night and I noticed this red car, that was parked down there," said Helen Peters, who runs  Sam Houston Equestrian Center. "There's so many people that dump things... car parts, old mattresses, all kinds of things," said Peters.

Police are canvassing the area for surveillance video.

Back in the ballroom community, everyone wants to know what happened to their friend who could always dazzle the dance floor.

"It's just hard to believe this has happened to somebody who I don't think I've ever heard her say a bad word about anybody," said Callaway.

Bernard held several positions on the dance board, including treasurer and membership chair. Investigators say her house was partially ransacked, but their were plenty of valuables left behind. If you have any information, call Hedwig Village Police.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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