ELKHART — A witness says Luis Alejandro Bailey stayed at her house the night of Dec. 20 and left around 2 a.m., before 76-year-old Norma Hopper was found dead in her house the morning of Dec. 21.
Bailey, 17, of 19751 C.R. 18, Elkhart, is being formally charged for the murder of Hopper.
The witness, with whom Bailey maintained a relationship, said he called her the next day to tell her he needed to talk to her and that she may not want to be with him after he “tells her something.” The witness lives near Hopper’s residence.
According to the probable cause affidavit for Bailey’s case, Hopper, of 54640 Michael Drive, called 911 around 3:06 a.m. Dec. 21 and said someone was ringing her doorbell. Two patrolmen arrived at the house around 3:30 a.m. and did not find anyone around the residence. The two officers left the area.
Around 10:30 a.m. the same day, Gaylene Beaird, Hopper’s niece, arrived at the house and found her aunt’s body.
“It was very brutal,” Beaird said on Monday outside her aunt’s house. “I had to close my eyes for a moment and not see, and I won’t forgive him for that. Ever.”
Beaird said it appeared Hopper was beaten to death and had head injuries. An autopsy performed on Hopper confirmed her cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, according to a press release from the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.
A blue 1999 Chevrolet Lumina had been taken from the residence that morning and later found in Cass County.
Police talked with another witness, who said Bailey had arrived at his residence in a dark four-door passenger car. The witness said Bailey had told him he had killed an elderly woman and stole her car. Bailey also told the witness he had broken into the house and used a specific weapon, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Bailey was located and interviewed at about 4:45 p.m. Sunday, during which he provided more information on how he entered Hopper’s residence, killed her, stole the vehicle and later abandoned it.
Bailey had not been identified by officials because he is a juvenile. However, once a formal charge of murder is filed, juvenile court has no jurisdiction on the case.
The investigation remains ongoing and the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney is awaiting supplemental investigation. However, preliminary reports indicate that Bailey was the lone assailant, according to the press release.
The Elkhart Circuit Court has scheduled an initial hearing for Jan. 3 at 8:30 a.m.
Luis Bailey PC Affidavit