UPDATE: Royal Oak Neighborhood Shaken by Slaying of Woman, 80

The elderly resident was found dead in her house in the Woodwardside neighborhood off Woodward near 13 Mile, her throat slit and her hands bound.

An 80-year-old Royal Oak woman was found dead in her home in the 2900 block of Trafford on Sunday evening – her throat cut and her hands bound behind her back, according to . There was evidence of a robbery, police said.

"The victim, Nancy Maureen Dailey, 80 years old, was discovered by a relative who came to the residence to check on the victim," Royal Oak Police Lt. Thomas Goad said in a news release this morning. 

Police responded to the scene off Woodward Avenue near 13 Mile Road at 8:26 p.m. Sunday. Goad said the crime likely occurred sometime between 5:30 and 7 p.m. Sunday. A white SUV or minivan was seen in the area and might be involved, Goad said in the release. 

Police did not release any more details. Dr. Ljubisa J. Dragovic, the Oakland County medical examiner, ruled the death a homicide with the cause of death "sharp force trauma" to the neck after conducting an autopsy today. He would not release any more details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Neighbors are understandably upset at the news of the brutal crime in their area.

Tim Stedman said has known Dailey for 40 years. "She was a nice little old lady. She took walks every day to get exercise," said Stedman, who lives four houses away.

He said Dailey moved into the house about 20 years ago. "This is a wonderful neighborhood and we have a great neighborhood association," he said.

Stedman, a past president of the Woodwardside Improvement Association, urged neighbors to be cautious. "This teaches us to be more vigilant and to be aware of who's around us," he said.

City Commissioner Patricia Capello is a longtime Woodwardside resident and knew Dailey.

"Nancy was a wonderful, wonderful person and an avid walker," said Capello, who lives two streets away from Dailey's house. 

Dailey walked several miles a day until recently, said Capello who also dropped off Meals on Wheels to Dailey. Dailey did not have any children and had few close relatives, Capello said. 

Lois Hillebrand, 77, has lived next door to the victim for 24 years, she told the Detroit Free Press. Hillebrand said her neighbor was an avid genealogy historian, traveling nationally to genealogy conventions and studying her family tree. She said the single woman, who didn’t have children, worked as a law office manager until she retired.

Dailey's niece waited in Hillebrand’s living room Sunday night, trying to find out what happened to her aunt, she said.

“My daughter saw her a little after 1 o’clock yesterday, but someone else saw her put the trash out later,” Hillebrand told the Free Press today, wondering who killed her neighbor. “I’m just assuming whoever it is is long gone.”

Mary Ann Van Hietsman, a member of the Woodwardside Improvement Association, lives a street away from the crime scene.

“I see the woman all the time,” she told WWJ. "She comes to our neighborhood stuff … and I don’t know. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Bill Shaw, who ran for city commissioner in the Nov. 8 election, and his wife, Dorothy, live in the Woodwardside neighborhood. She said they often walk to the nearby Olga's on Woodward and knocked on a lot of doors in the neighborhood during the campaign.

"This terrorizes me," Dorothy Shaw told Royal Oak Patch this morning. "It's just awful. I can't fathom who would do this."

Former Royal Oak Mayor Dennis Cowan lives a few houses down from the woman. “It’s just shocking,” he told the Free Press. “People are very close here and take care of each other. They're obviously very upset and want to know who did it.”

Early Monday morning, a neighbor came out of her home on the quiet, residential street, just a few doors from Woodward, and appeared shaken. She would not talk about what happened.

A police officer on the scene would not comment; police tape remained in place this morning, but otherwise the two-bedroom brick ranch home was quiet.

Reaction to the story was one of disbelief and nervousness. Royal Oak Patch Facebook followers had this to say early this morning:

  • Sue Baldock: "DISLIKE - I grew up about a mile from there. This is something you just don't hear about in that area. Sad."
  • Sandy Teggart Brachel: "Royal Oak is changing.....it's not the same R.O. I grew up in - not even remotely."

City Commissioner Capello said she understands that residents are shaken up by the news of the woman's murder and hunger for more information. "They (police) know what they are doing," she said this morning. "Solving it (the crime) is their first priority. We all know the first 24 hours after a crime is so important."

A Royal Oak detective was going door to door this morning questioning neighbors and officers were seen combing the yard around the victim's house.

Police ask anyone with information to call the Royal Oak Police Department at (248) 246-3500.

Correction: The victim's name first name is Nancy.

Carl Johnson November 21, 2011 at 12:40 PM
Royal Oak sure has changed. I remember when 70 percent of the homes in Royal Oak had school-age children living in them and Kimball, Dondero and Shrine H.S.'s were jammed packed overflowing with kids all the way up to the rafters. Good times...........
Cheryl McDonald November 21, 2011 at 12:54 PM
That's right Carl.... There are so many strange faces anymore you have no idea who really lives here and who doesn't. That's dangerous..
Dan Fournier November 21, 2011 at 02:52 PM
This is obviously an isolated incident and is NOT the norm in R O i grew up here and now live on Trafford. It Is a safe City. I would not say this makes Royal Oak a bad place to live. I can think of alot of worse neighborhoods in the area.
Deb November 21, 2011 at 03:27 PM
I think this is tragic and sad...but I agree with the poster above that it's likely an isolated incident. I also think that it's in poor taste to release the victim's name in any way before the police do. It's not the place of the news to tell family and friends about such tragedies before the police get a chance.
Lynn H November 21, 2011 at 05:51 PM
This is horrible and tragic and truly frightening, but could happen anywhere anytime. I don't think it's indicative of our particular city becoming any less safe overall. Yes I'm scared and will be very cautious, but stuff like this can happen in the "safest" of areas. It just takes one crazed person to strike fear in an entire community, and unfortunately there's no way to predict or necessarily prevent where a person like that may strike.
zp November 21, 2011 at 11:17 PM
"A dead woman's niece..." Really?!
Dickie Doodles November 22, 2011 at 12:13 AM
You know it would be nice if the writer of this story provided exactly where this happened. I read the city or town but no reference whatsoever as to which state in which it occurred. Much further into the story Oakland was mentioned and from that I'm going to assume that California is the state. But I could be wrong. Sloppy, sloppy reporting.
Susan Lossing November 22, 2011 at 12:46 AM
Try MIchigan, Royal Oak, Michigan is in Oakland County. No where near California as it actually snows here in the winter time.
JB November 22, 2011 at 12:51 AM
Royal oak WHAT?....Woodward WHAT? I assume this is in one of the 50 states, right? I see more and more articles like this any more. I guess the writers don't feel that telling the reader what state it happened in is important....
Teresa Greenwalt Petersen November 22, 2011 at 01:26 AM
Well .. you clicked on a story, that took you to a "local" link .. a little community e-newsletter page. I lived near Royal Oak .. it's quite a shocker. :(
Teresa Greenwalt Petersen November 22, 2011 at 01:30 AM
Wellllllllllll .. when you clicked on the link, it took you to the original article/posting in a little Suburban E-Newsletter .. the author of this article didn't write it, thinking that it wold be snagged up by AOL/Huffpo. It was part of the Royal Oak Patch Newsletter .. and very shocking for this community. :*(
Judy Davids (Editor) November 22, 2011 at 02:21 AM
Theresa you are absolutely right. Royal Oak Patch is local online "community" news. We're are located in Michigan. Sorry for the confusion for our AOL/HuffPo friends.
Amethyst22 November 22, 2011 at 02:26 AM
If I lived alone, I would put cameras around my house and also an alarm system.
Teresa Greenwalt Petersen November 22, 2011 at 03:25 AM
Hi Judy, I lived and worked in the Southfield, Birmingham, Royal Oak area for years .. ate at OLGA'S all the time :) loved the area .. so sad to read about this tragedy :(
Deborah November 22, 2011 at 04:06 AM
This is a horrible thing to happen. Very sorry to read about it. I just wanted to add a tip to readers who were confused about the location: When you get an article like this, check the top of the page. In this case, you could click on the Royal Oak Patch at the top and it would take you to the home page for the paper/newsletter. On that page were many references to Michigan, Detroit, and a listing of restaurants in Royal Oak, MI. Just trying to help clear up some confusion and make it easier to figure out in the future. And again...so sorry this happened to this lady, and I hope they catch the killer very soon.
Fred M. King November 22, 2011 at 04:27 AM
I didn't know where it was either till one of the above posters took the time to complete the story. Thanks Susan!
Al November 22, 2011 at 04:28 AM
Hey writer, try to make a habit to say what state are you reporting so people will understand better.
James Sharland November 22, 2011 at 06:00 AM
Nice article... A dead woman's niece? Are you serious?
Jeff081 November 22, 2011 at 01:23 PM
I live in Dearborn, but have family that live in Royal Oak, MICHIGAN. Great city, great people, was shocked to see this on the news. Best burger and onion rings on Earth in Royal Oak, though, the Redcoat Tavern on Woodward.
NewfyMom November 22, 2011 at 04:12 PM
It would also be great if every senior could have one of those alert button things, just push a button and help is on the way. And if possible a dog. Would not have to be a large dog altho I would find that preferable. Basically any dog that would send out an elert, alot of people are afraid of dogs of any size. The neighborhood we moved into 18 years ago has also gone downhill but with our 167 lb Newfoundland, 80 lb St. Bernard mix and 77 lb Border Collie mix, we are one of the few home who don't have problems. My heart and prayers go out to the family and friends of this poor woman. They way she went was beyond terrible but please remember that she is with God now, no more pain or being scared. Let Him be your scource of comfort and strength.
Mike November 23, 2011 at 02:34 PM
Add a German Shepherd puppy and in a year you will have a great watchdog. Very loyal and protective.
Mike November 23, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Have to agree 100%. I raised a German Shepherd puppy and he was loyal, protective, and great with children. I just happened to like Shepherds, but the breeds you mentioned will do well also. Most burgulars will bypass a house with a big dog. If they get passed the dog then it's time for the 45 cal.or 9 mm.


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