After 81-year-old Ok Ja Kim did not appear at a family function in August, a concerned relative traveled to her Woodland Hills home and found the woman dead.
Now, the city of Los Angeles is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of a suspect.
Kim was found on the floor of her bedroom in the 20800 block of Martha Street, half hidden under her bed, “semi charred, unconscious and not breathing,” Los Angeles police said.
She had reportedly been strangled and suffered “sharp and blunt force injuries,” police said.
The home showed “extensive signs of arson” and appeared to have been broken into.
“I have worked many years in homicide and even more than that investigating violent crime, and I can honestly say that in my entire career I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a senseless and brutal act of murder,” LAPD Det. Sharon Kim said Thursday at a news conference, KTLA-TV Channel 5 reported.
Investigators do not know whether Kim had been followed home before she was killed, so they are searching for additional surveillance footage and asking for the public’s help.
Clara Kim, the victim’s daughter, urged the community to act.
“This could have been anyone’s family. This could have been your mom, this could have been your dad,” Kim said, according to KTLA.
“My mother is a person who truly gave more in this life than she ever took,” she said.
The victim lived alone after the death of her husband last year, KTLA reported.