Family seeks help to find grandmother’s killer

By: Brad Smith, Telegraph Correspondent
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Not knowing what happened has been hard on those left behind in the wake of Alice Murphy’s death. “It’s been very hard for my oldest daughter, Ashley,” Mark Judish, Murphy’s son, said during a phone interview. The 6-year-old “misses her grandmother a lot and can’t understand why she’s gone,” he said. Murphy, 64, was discovered dead in her Creekside Manor apartment on Dec. 21. A coroner’s exam indicates Murphy was beaten to death, sustaining injuries to the face and head, as well as rib fractures. Judish last saw his mother on Saturday, Dec. 19, when she visited his Orangevale home. “We had a really good day,” Judish recalled. Along with a visiting family friend, Murphy had stopped by to see her son and her granddaughters, Ashley and Presley, 3. “Mom had a lot of fun, playing with the girls. Later on, we all had lunch.” Judish and his mother talked about Christmas plans, he said. “Mom was in a great mood. She had fun with the kids and was looking forward to spending Christmas with us,” Judish said. According to Judish, his mother and her friend left his home at around 2 p.m. “They wanted to spend time in Folsom’s Old Town,” he said. “Both women loved to visit the Sutter Street shops and look around.” Sometime later, he said, his mother and the family friend had dinner at Mimi’s in Folsom. Judish said the friend dropped his mother off at her apartment at some time around 8 p.m. At 9:30 p.m., Murphy had tried calling the family friend, couldn’t reach her, and left a voice message. “That’s the last time anyone heard from my mother.” That following Monday, Judish was contacted by that friend after she’d found Murphy’s body. “She was suppose to meet with Mom before heading home in the Bay Area. She found Mom, then called me,” he said. When Judish arrived at his mother’s apartment, he was greeted by Folsom police officers. He was told that he couldn’t enter the apartment since investigators were searching it. Later on that evening, police told him that his mother’s death was “suspicious.” “It was another shock to me,” he said. “I was thinking, ‘Why would anyone want to do something like this to my mother?’” He said that his mother felt “too young” to be living at Creekside Manor. Murphy talked about moving but Judish, along with his brother, Eric, and sister, Rhonda, talked her out of it. “(They) are nice apartments and perfect for my mother. The location was good for her, the hospital was close by if there was an emergency,” he said. Murphy stayed on at the apartments, growing to enjoy life there, her son said. “Mom had made a number of friends there and she felt safe and comfortable there.” Judish said that his mother never spoke of having problems at the apartments or with neighbors. He said maybe his mother felt “too safe and comfortable” at Creekside. “Mom had a cat. She’d often left the door open 4 to 6 inches, all day, so the cat could get in and out. We lectured her a lot about that,” he said. Judish is now waiting for information, like everyone else, believing the police are doing everything they can. “I know they are and I really appreciate their efforts. Still, it’s frustrating for my family.” He hopes that someone with information regarding his mother’s death will step forward. If someone did see something, he asks they call (916) 930-1098, e-mail or call WeTip at (800) 78-CRIME. “Tell the police what you can so that they can solve this,” he said. Meantime, Judish is struggling with his own loss and helping his daughters with theirs as well. “I haven’t explained everything to Ashley yet. All she knows, Grandma is gone,” he said. There will be a memorial service for Alice Murphy at 11 a.m. on Jan. 9 at Faith Lutheran Church, 4000 San Juan Ave., Fair Oaks.