ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. -- Rowan County Sheriff's investigators are combing an 85-acre farm on an isolated road in the town of Richfield trying to find out who beat an 87-year-old veteran to death and seriously injured his daughter.
Authorities say an elderly man was found dead outside his home on River Road near Salisbury. A female was also found injured outside the home near where the man's body was discovered.
The deceased has been identified as the homeowner, 87-year-old J.D. Furr.
The female victim, Furr's daughter, is identified as 62-year-old Sandra Steen. Steen was taken to Stanly Memorial Hospital for treatment of her injuries, but was later taken by air to another area hospital. The Rowan County Sheriff's Office says Steen suffered significant injuries, and is in the Intensive Care Unit. On Thursday, officials said Steen's condition had improved, but that she will require an extended amount of time to recover from injuries sustained in the incident.
A shaken Jeff Steem sat on the ground beside a Rowan County Sheriff's squad car, alternating looks at the sky and then at the farm he said he spent most of his time on.
Jeff said that he came to the farm Wednesday morning and discovered his mother, Sandra Steem, lying in the driveway of the farm in the back yard. She was bloody and had been beaten.
"She told me someone jumped her from behind," Jeff said. "I saw she was hurt and bleeding, and then I saw my grandfather beaten to death."
Jeff added that they both must have been lying in the yard since last night, according to the few words he got from his mother before she was taken to the hospital.
Information gained from family members indicates the incident occurred sometime after 7:30 Tuesday night.
Officials say a robbery of the residence may have also occurred, but investigators are still working to confirm that.
"Anyone who knows anything about this case can call us," said Captain John Sifford of the Rowan County Sheriff's Office.