Police: Homicide victim likely knew attacker

CNJ Staff

Police say they suspect a 54-year-old Clovis woman found dead inside her burning house Saturday morning was killed by someone she knew.

The victim is identified as Elizabeth McAdams, 1600 N. Lea St. Her body was discovered shortly after 7 a.m. by Clovis firefighters responding to a house fire.

Police said smoke was billowing from a rooftop air conditioner when firefighters arrived. They found McAdams lying on the floor of a back bedroom.

It appeared someone slashed McAdams’ throat, then set several small fires in an attempt to burn down the house and destroy evidence of a homicide, according to police.

Police said they don’t believe McAdams’ slaying was random and she “may have known the murder suspect.”

Investigators said they do have a “person of interest” they are trying to locate as part of the investigation.

Neighbors said McAdams lived alone in the usually quiet area and guessed she had been in the house about two years. They described her as “a nice lady.”

The homicide is Clovis’ third this year.

Gary Payne, 52, of Melrose and Melissa Ward, 36, of Lubbock were shot to death on Sept. 25 as they traveled in a van on Clovis’ west side. Anthony Ray Casillas, who worked with Payne, is awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges in that case.

The region’s most recent homicide prior to Saturday occurred Nov. 25 in Texico.

Elvin Osmin Orellanna Rivera was shot and killed during a robbery at his home, police said. No one has been charged with his slaying.