PORT RICHEY — Four Septembers ago, Pasco deputies discovered Beverly B. Bobrick beaten to death in her bed. Her dog Peppy's throat had been cut.
The grisly death of the 79-year-old woman who ran a flea market booth and worked at her church's bingo was the kind that hung in the air in her Regency Park neighborhood.
It was a cruel and senseless act, like the rapes in 2007 of two elderly women in Zephyrhills, and the brutal attack a few weeks ago in Port Richey on a legally blind 89-year-old woman.
Those cases have cleared hurdles in the race for justice. Three men were quickly arrested in connection with the Zephyrhills rapes. One was convicted last month and awaits his life sentence.
In the Port Richey attack, three young men — two of them teenagers — were caught and jailed within days, prompting Sheriff Bob White to issue a warning for any would-be attackers: "There is no shelter for these types of criminals in Pasco County," he said. "We will hunt you down."
But in the murder of Beverly Bobrick, the hunt continues. Her killer has not been caught. He is finding shelter somewhere.
• • •
It might be in state prison.
The primary person of interest in the Bobrick case is a 23-year-old serial burglar named Brian Vincent Stoll.
In 2006, he pleaded no contest to a list of burglary and theft charges and received a 23-year prison sentence for stealing more than $45,000 in goods from homes scattered around Port Richey, including Regency Park. One break-in on Sept. 11, 2005, turned violent when Stoll beat a 74-year-old man.
That same morning, a half-mile away, Bobrick was found murdered.
Sheriff's Detective Lisa Schoneman has had the case from the beginning. She said investigators took more than 1,000 pieces of evidence from Bobrick's home.
That included hairs found on Bobrick, who died in her bed, a pillow left over her face.
In 2007, the Sheriff's Office obtained a warrant to take hair samples from Stoll, who was in the county jail at the time, to compare with those from the crime scene.
But even ever-reliable DNA evidence has its pitfalls. Schoneman said extracting DNA from a strand of hair isn't as easy as obtaining it from blood or saliva. The state-run crime lab needs hair with the root on it.
Still, the first comparison provided a result "putting us in a good direction," Schoneman said.
But she wants a more definitive result. That means researching, finding and paying a private lab to do a more intricate analysis.
That's where the case now stands.
• • •
In the meantime, life has gone on. Bobrick's house on Red Run Drive has a new owner. For Sale signs pepper the street.
Bobrick's neighbors across the street, William and Vi Meade, were the ones who called authorities when they didn't see her out that Sunday in 2005.
It's still her house they see every time they step out their front door, but she's not on their minds so much anymore.
"I look at it — it's just a part of life," William Meade, 73, said last week. "You don't expect it to happen in a quiet neighborhood, but times have changed, people have changed."
In addition, Bobrick's only living relative, a nephew she helped raise, died recently of cancer.
That leaves Schoneman alone in seeking justice for the woman.
"She was 79 years old, and she never hurt a soul in her life," she said. "It's just a shame she had such a good, long life and somebody brutally beat her and killed her."
As with all cold cases, Schoneman said, "we don't just put it on the shelf and forget."
That's reassuring to Meade, who got a chill that something was wrong with Bobrick when he peered into her window and saw a bar stool knocked over.
"At least they're attempting to do something," Meade said. "I hope they nail him."
Molly Moorhead can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6245.