Ottawa Authorities have recovered a purse that belonged to Doris E. Branson, a rural Ottawa woman who was murdered at her home March 20, according to the Franklin County Sheriff's officer in charge of the investigation.
Capt. Craig Davis said a Baker University student found the purse April 6 in a ditch on the east side of Douglas County Road 1055 about six miles south of Baldwin. The student initially discarded some of the contents, but eventually turned everything in to the Baldwin Police Department, which handed the purse over to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office on April 7, he said.
Davis said the purse was taken from Branson's home the day of the homicide, and it appeared to contain all the original contents, including a small amount of cash. Officers were unable to determine if anything else was stolen from the house during the burglary.
Officers conducted a check lane at the location where the purse was found for four hours Friday to ask motorists if they had witnessed any suspicious activity between Baldwin and LeLoup Road in rural Ottawa since March 20, Davis said.
"We're still looking for anyone who could say they saw the purse or that the purse definitely wasn't there between March 20 and last Monday," he said.
The sheriff's department has established a secret witness hot line, which allows callers to remain anonymous. The number is 1-242-4502.
The department also is offering an award of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case.
Branson, 45, died at her home, four miles north and west of Ottawa, after being stabbed several times.