Elderly woman found dead in SoCal backyard after home ransacked, vehicle stolen

A murder investigation was underway Wednesday after the body of an elderly woman was found in the backyard of a Southern California home and her vehicle was stolen, authorities said.

The female victim, identified as 76-year-old Chyong Jen Tsai, was discovered around 7 a.m. Tuesday in the 300 block of East Forest Avenue in Arcadia, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau.

Construction crews working at a nearby home noticed the victim and called police.

When Arcadia police officers arrived, they found the woman not breathing and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was unclear when Tsai died, but police confirmed she spoke to someone on Monday evening. The woman's husband was out of the country at the time and said to be flying back to Southern California.

A contractor who found her body told FOX 11 he knew her simply as "Nancy" and described her as a wonderful person.

Investigators said the home was ransacked. Tsai's vehicle, a white 2005 Lexus RX 300, was also stolen, according to sheriff's officials. It has a California license plate number of 5LOG473.

The cause of death was being determined by the Los Angeles County coroner. A possible motive or suspect information was not immediately released.

Los Angeles County homicide detectives were assisting the Arcadia Police Department with the murder investigation.

Anyone with information about the woman's death or her vehicle was asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. You can also remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).