The lot at 2743 North Kerby St. is overgrown and vacant, home to some resilient bluebells and a lonely utility box.
But back in 1980, a house stood on the lot and a frail, 83-year-old woman named Myrtle Thomas lived there.
"Ms. Thomas to our knowledge had no family, there was no next of kin, no children, no cousins or anybody else," said Kerry Taylor, the retired homicide detective reviewing the case.
Taylor said Thomas lived on the home's first floor.
The homeowner, who was also the elderly woman's caregiver, lived upstairs.
On Jan. 3, 1980, the caregiver told police she found Thomas after receiving a strange phone call.
"The caller said, 'have you checked on your friend downstairs, you're next,' (then) made a threat," Taylor said.
Taylor said Thomas was stabbed multiple times.
"There were some lacerations to the head where she was struck with an object," he said.
But who would kill a feeble, old woman?
The motive remains a mystery.
Investigators said there remain unanswered suspicions about the caregiver.
An 11-year-old boy also reported seeing a man with long, blonde hair, a full beard and moustache sitting on the front porch the night before Thomas' body was found.
"He said the fellow sat on the front porch for 15 minutes and then just got up and walked away," Taylor said. "He said he looked like somebody who looked like he came off skid row."
Forensic evidence in the case has been re-submitted to the Oregon State Police crime lab. Time will tell if new testing methods prove useful in the case. It's a case Taylor said is haunting, in part, because the victim was so vulnerable.
If you have any information about this crime, you can leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at crimestoppersoforegon.com text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.
Visit www.tipsoft.com to download the Crime Stoppers app for the iPhone or Droid.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved.
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