WOONSOCKET – Police say a woman whose body was found in her home Monday night was the victim of a homicide, but they aren’t saying much else.
The victim was identified as 57-year-old Donna Pike, who lived on the top floor of 79 Rathbun St., a gray, three-story stucco behind Lee’s Convenience Store.
Saying they don’t want to jeopardize an ongoing investigation, the police disclosed few details about how they believe Pike was murdered, the condition of the body or where in the apartment it was found.
The news was released in a three-sentence press release issued by Detective Jamie Paone yesterday afternoon, nearly 24 hours after the discovery of the body.
It said, “On April 8, 2013 at approximately 7:30 p.m. members of the Woonsocket Police Department were called to 79 Rathbun St. Apt.3 to check the condition of the tenant. When police entered the apartment they found the tenant, Donna Pike, 57, dead. Ms. Pike’s death is being treated as a homicide and the investigation is ongoing.”
Paone said later that police were performing a well-being check requested by the landlord, whom she did not identify. City tax records indicate the property is owned by Egidio DiPardo & Sons, which is part of a funeral business. The house where Pike’s body was found was originally part of the Lauzon family funeral business, which disbanded several years ago.
Paone said the police disclosed the homicide after the manner of death was confirmed by the state medical examiner Tuesday, but she declined to elaborate.
“We’re working really hard on this one,” was all Police Chief Tom Carey would say when asked to elaborate on the circumstances of Pike’s death.
Neighbors described Pike as a friendly loner who was waiting for her boyfriend to get out of jail at the end of the month.
“She kept to herself, that’s why it’s such a hard thing to swallow,” said one woman who lives across the street.
The woman, who declined to give her name, said she had known Pike for many years but had lost touch with her until recently. Pike may have lived in Providence for a time and was known to travel regularly to the Providence Center, which offers clients a wide range of mental health and counseling support services.
“She was a nice lady,” said another man. “Always friendly, always said hello. She would ask me for a cigarette when I saw her.”
Neighbors said police swarmed the crime scene after the discovery of the body and police knocked on numerous doors asking questions. Two officers were still stationed at the apartment late yesterday afternoon.
Pike’s death is the first homicide in the city in more than two years. The most recent prior killing took place on Sept. 20, 2010, when gas station manager David Main, 49, of Lincoln, was shot to death outside Citizens Bank on Diamond Hill Road as he was attempting to deposit the weekend’s receipts. Jason Wayne Pleau, 35, a career criminal from Woonsocket, is facing the death penalty in federal court on charges stemming from the fatal robbery.