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Neighbors puzzled, frightened, following homicide of 82-year-old woman

By Lindsay Ruebens and Michael Gordon
lruebens@charlotteobserver.com

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Ina Feldman, the 82-year-old south Charlotte resident found murdered in her home Tuesday, died from a blow to her head, according to a source close to the police investigation.

There was no sign of sexual assault, the source said.

Feldman was found Tuesday morning by her son in her Charlotte town home off Carmel Road. The son, Irwin Feldman, who lives nearby, said he initially thought his mother had fallen and hit her head.

But the source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Thursday morning that Feldman died from “blunt force trauma.”

Meanwhile, the mostly elderly residents of Feldman’s quiet south Charlotte town home community battled shock and fear Wednesday as police continue to investigate the slaying.

They remember Feldman, a former school teacher, as the smiling transplant who took long walks, and lived in a town house with flowers on the doormat and a security-system decal on her window.

“It just scares me to no end,” said one resident who declined to give her name out of concern for her safety. “I shake when I think about it.”

She said police told her Feldman’s home was ransacked, a detail police declined to confirm.

Police are asking the public for help solving the killing and are offering a $5,000 reward; tipsters can remain anonymous.

Feldman’s neighborhood borders Carmel Road, between Quail Hollow and Carmel country clubs, an area of little crime. The town houses all feature tall privacy fences, and Feldman’s unit was edged by woods.

She took long walks around her neighborhood daily and kept mostly to herself, said neighbor Robert Morgan.

“She was a pretty active woman – she walked every day that was decent,” Morgan said. “She was anxious to help her health.”

Others said Feldman always smiled and waved. “She was friendly, very friendly and sweet,” said Nancy Mayer.

Feldman moved here from the Charleston area in 2009 with her husband, Oded Feldman, records show. Irwin Feldman and his wife moved to a home nearby – on the same street – so they could be close to his parents, Morgan said.

“He took care of his mother very well,” he said.

Reached at his home, Feldman’s son, Irwin, told the Observer: “We are grieving and we have no comment.”

Oded Feldman died in April 2011, according to the Arizona Jewish Post. He was born in Palestine and grew up there and in New York, which was Ina’s home. The two were married 59 years and lived in Tuscon, Ariz., El Paso, Texas, and Mount Pleasant, S.C., before coming to Charlotte.

Morgan said he has lived in the neighborhood since the 1980s. “There’s been no crime in this area for 30 to 40 years,” he said. “We’ve never even had a robbery that I know of.”

Homicides involving the elderly are rare across Charlotte, though an 88-year-old woman was killed by her neighbor in west Charlotte last year.

Wednesday, police talked individually with residents along Torrey Pines Court about how to make their homes safer. Neighbors said they remain on edge.

“It took me a little longer to go to sleep last night,” said resident Judy Hutton. “I think everybody is just hopeful that there will be a suspect apprehended so that we know what happened.” Staff researcher Maria David contributed.

Ruebens: 704-358-5294; Twitter: @lruebens
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