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Break in cold case murder of 88-year-old woman comes with arrest

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THE BRONX (PIX11) -- A woman has been arrested in connection with the death of an 88-year-old woman who was found brutally bludgeoned to death on June 16, 2012.

Pia McQueen, 31, is charged with murder, burglary and criminal possession of a weapon, according to the NYPD.

Two years ago, Evelyn Shapiro was found dead in her Pelham Bay apartment by her daughter, Susan Durlak.

At first, Durlak didn't realize that her 88-year-old mother was covered in blood.

“At first, I thought, ‘What is on her? Is that gravy?’” Susan Durlak recalled to PIX 11. “I was saying to her, ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ It’s horrible to see that picture in your head and say ‘I’m going to live with that picture for the rest of my life.’”

Grandma

Durlak had gone to the Bronx apartment from her home in Orange County, after she spent a night trying to contact her elderly mother by phone.

Durlak’s son, James, was with her, when they found Shapiro’s door ajar — and groceries splattered all over the hallway inside.

Shapiro had gone shopping and bought blueberries, Durlak's favorite fruit, and they were scattered all over the floor.

“At first, we thought she was shot in the head, because there was a hole in her head,” James Durlak remembered. “You see the image every time you close your eyes.”

When the family called 911, they reported that Shapiro had been shot, but an autopsy showed she’d been beaten, and the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Police say the arrest was made thanks to a Crime Stoppers tip.