Police have arrested a man in conjunction with the murder of an 80-year-old Mount Airy woman.
Jordon Ross Lowdermilk, 28, of Briar Patch Lane in Dobson, has been charged with first degree murder, burglary and larceny of a motor vehicle by the Mount Airy Police Department. A lesser charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill was also tacked on by the Surry County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers with the Mount Airy Police Department had been dispatched to the home at 409 Franklin St. to conduct a welfare check on the occupant.
Paul Barker, a city detective who was on the scene Wednesday, declined to say who had initiated the welfare check.
Upon arriving and making entry into the home, officers found Claudia Smith deceased around 8 a.m.
The residence, a two-story unit in a duplex apartment-type building, appeared to have been broken into and the victim had signs of assault, police said. Smith’s body was discovered in the upper portion of the home in a bedroom area.
Barker said he could not comment on any apparent cause of death or property missing from the dwelling.
“We’re still in the preliminary stages of it,” the detective said at the scene Wednesday afternoon. “I can’t go into any detail right now.”
Barker reiterated that late Wednesday afternoon.
“Really, the only thing I can release right now is we have determined it is a homicide,” he said of the death. “It is continuing to be investigated by the police department with assistance from the SBI (State Bureau of Investigation).” The Surry County Sheriff’s Office also has assisted.
In addition to other elements suggesting foul play, the Smith’s vehicle, a Nissan, was located abandoned off Interstate 77 near mile marker 99 in Surry County south of N.C. 89 in the general vicinity of Brintle’s Truck Stop.
The section of Franklin Street where the home is located, between Willow and North South streets, was closed to vehicular traffic Wednesday as investigators processed evidence at the scene. Yellow police tape also encircled the residence.
On Wednesday Barker also would not comment on a report by one area media outlet that authorities might have a suspect in mind.
“I can’t release anything about that.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.