Coffee Co. detectives still following leads in death of woman - WSMV News 4

Coffee Co. detectives still following leads in death of elderly woman

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Patricia Collins Patricia Collins

Authorities continue to investigate a murder that has captivated an entire county. A 73-year-old widow was killed in her home, and investigators still don't know who did it.

Patricia Collins was found dead Oct. 17 at her Manchester home, and while her family wonders if police are any closer to justice in the case, her neighbors are asking the same question.

"There is a killer out there," said Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves.

It's a fact that has many in the county concerned they may be in danger.

Neighbors said the woman was retired and a recent widow and that she was planning to sell her Powers Bridge Road home to move closer to relatives in Florida.

"You either create persons of interest right away, or it takes time to develop them," Graves said.

In this case, investigators say it's taking time.

Meanwhile, some believe Collins knew her killer.

"There was no signs of forced entry into the house, and we are following every lead that we get," Graves said.

People who knew Collins didn't want to speak on camera, saying they're afraid the killer could find them.

Neighbors say the woman kept a routine. She would come home, close the door, close the blinds and turn off the lights.

That night, however, she had closed the door but left the blinds open, one neighbor said. It's a change that now stands out.

Another change: a woman who had been staying with Collins suddenly disappeared just before her death.

"It's not someone we feel is going to walk into someone else's home in the neighborhood and do this thing again," Graves said.

Police are keeping information close in fear of tipping off a potential suspect. In a small town, they say, important details can travel quickly to the wrong person.

"It could take a few days. It could take a few months," Graves said. "We're gonna stay active. It's not gonna go cold."

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the case and is collecting leads. They are hoping anyone who saw anything in the days leading up to Oct. 17 will come forward.

If you have information for investigators, call the Coffee County Sheriff's Department at 931-728-3591.

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