Friends and family of Denise Battey gathered outside her Norwalk home for a candlelight vigil to honor her on what would have been her 51st birthday. They lit red candles in her memory because red was her favorite color.
Last Friday morning, Battey was in her backyard watering her garden when according to her family she was attacked in broad daylight, sexually assaulted and stabbed several times.
Hours later the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department got a call from a concerned neighbor. When deputies arrived on-scene, they found the back door open and Battey's nude and bloody body in a bedroom.
Authorities say they believe the woman was targeted, although they have made no arrests. There is a person of interest in the case; however police are not releasing details for fear of jeopardizing the investigation.
"We want to catch the person," said Steve Whitmore with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "If I talk about it now, that may prevent us from catching the person. We have a family that's grieving. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them."
Battey's twin sister, Annise, says she wants the killer off the streets.
"It just feels so desolate without her," she said. "I've never had my birthday without her. This is the first time. I just wanted to come today with friends and family and just celebrate her legacy and just want her to understand that we love her and we're here for her."
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is asking for the public's help in this case. Anyone with information is urged to call the homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500.