Police: Assault victim’s death could be murder

MARIETTA – A felonious assault that took place in March during a burglary at a Marietta home now may be investigated as a murder, after one of the victims died Saturday.

It is not certain that 80-year-old Billie Runnion died as a result of injuries sustained during the assault. Her body has been sent to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy, said Sgt. Greg Nohe of the Marietta Police Department.

Runnion and her son, James, 50, both sustained multiple injuries from an unknown assailant or assailants when their 914 Emerson Ave. home was burglarized between the evening of March 18 and morning of March 19, said Nohe.

“They both had severe head injuries and there were other injuries that were sustained by Mrs. Runnion that required them both to be Life Flighted to Columbus,” he said.

According to a press release from the Marietta Police Department, James was treated and released. He is home and recovering from his injuries, said Nohe.

Billie Runnion remained in Columbus for extensive treatment and was later transferred to The Arbors at Marietta for continued rehabilitation until she passed away Saturday.

The Runnions were not able identify any suspects, said Nohe.

“We were not able to elicit any information from the victims that would identify a suspect or suspects,” he said.

Neither of the Runnions phoned for help. It was a home health aide who was scheduled to assist Billie the morning of March 19 who placed the call to police.

“When she couldn’t get anybody to answer the door she looked in the window and saw some issues and summoned the police,” said Nohe.

There was no sign of forced entry into the home, he said. Prescription medication was stolen from the home during the attack, he said.

So far, the assault on the Runnions has been investigated as a felonious assault and burglary, said Nohe.

If Billie’s autopsy results show that her death was a result of injuries sustained in the incident, it could result in an aggravated murder charge for the perpetrator, Nohe said.

The police are looking for any information from the public that might be helpful in solving the crime, said Nohe.

“Somebody knows something and we would like for them to contact us,” he said.

Anyone with information concerning the case can contact Nohe at 376-2007.