Woman killed in Forest Grove remembered as compassionate, giving
FOREST GROVE, Ore. (KPTV) - At first, officers called it a suspicious death, but nearly one month later, Forest Grove Police say a 54-year-old woman was murdered.
Cynthia Belton’s body was discovered in her apartment after a welfare check on March 19 at the College Place Apartments. Police will not say how she died, and officers will not comment on any suspect information.
“I wish I would have known… I would have checked on her, but I didn’t know. You don’t think that’s going to happen right next to you,” said neighbor John Vella.
Vella said he wants to know who killed his friend and neighbor.
“Anytime I went to the store for us I’d always take her, or ask if she needed something, because... that’s what neighbors do,” said Vella.
Compassionate and giving – that’s how neighbors describe the grandmother who spent most days volunteering for the homeless.
Many said they truly miss seeing Belton and her dog, Scooter.
“I still can’t believe it happened. I keep expecting to hear her, or hear Scooter barking. Everybody loved that puppy, he was the best little puppy,” said Vella.
Vella said he knew something was up around March 16. He didn’t see Belton for days, but could hear her dog barking from inside her apartment.
“There’s a young lady who’s so sweet, she made her some cookies and put them by her door. She saw that she didn’t get them for a few days. That’s how it was reported,” said Vella.
“I told them what was going on, I asked for a welfare check and they were here within 15 minutes,” said an apartment employee who wanted to remain nameless.
The employee said she made that welfare call, which quickly turned into a crime scene on March 19.
“It’s been pretty uneasy here the last few weeks. People are sad. They’re nervous, they just want to know that they are safe,” the employee said.
Vella said, “All our neighbors are so scared and spooked.”
Unease and mystery now linger in Forest Grove as the homicide investigation continues.
“If she was murdered, he’s still out there,” said Vella.
Those who knew Belton, are keeping her memory alive.
“These were dragonflies and butterflies she had on the outside of her window, her son let us keep them,” said the apartment employee.
Vella said, “I just don’t understand why someone would hurt her, or do anything to her.”
Police and detectives said they are exploring several leads. Anyone with information about Belton’s death is asked to contact Forest Grove Police.
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