Elderly woman's death ruled a homicide

Fire apparently deliberately set at Orlando home

Published On: Sep 18 2013 08:25:18 AM EDT   Updated On: Sep 18 2013 06:19:31 PM EDT
Fatal fire in Orlando
ORLANDO, Fla. -

An elderly woman was found dead Wednesday morning after her house was apparently set ablaze, and Orange County Sheriff's deputies are investigating her death as a homicide.

The fire broke out Wednesday morning at a home on Turnbull Drive near Semoran Boulevard and Hoffner Avenue. 

Deputies said the woman, 83-year-old Elena Ortega, had obvious signs of trauma to her body and her death was not related to the fire, which appears to have been deliberately set.

"This is a tragic death for this neighborhood. This is going to shock this neighborhood that an elderly female living in this home, something possibly terrible has happened," Orange County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jane Watrel said.  "Last night, her daughter spoke to her, so her family had contact with her. We know she was alive last evening."

Officials said the woman, who was married for 65 years, lived alone in the house and relied on a walker to get around. 

"I took care of her, I brought her everything, took her to the doctors, everything. She didn't drive," said her friend, Rina Del Castillo.

A family friend said the woman was in her 80s and leaves behind two children, including a daughter who lives in Lake Mary.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

No other details have been released.

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