Alameda sheriff investigating murder arson case in Castro Valley

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CASTRO VALLEY (KTVU) -- Investigators said they suspect foul play in the death of a 59-year-old widow who lived alone and whose body was found in a burned out home after an overnight fire was reported early Tuesday.

The Alameda County Sheriff' spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said the fire broke out shortly before 3 a.m. at the home in the 1800 block of Grove Way in Castro Valley near the Alameda city line.

He said first responders could not find the woman, who lived alone, inside the residence. He said her body was later found in the garage and that she had been badly burned during the blaze.

"The fire was arson to cover the tracks of the killer," Kelly said, adding that the woman was slain before the fire started. He declined to say how the woman, whose identity was not released, died.

"It was a very brutal murder," he said. 

Investigators said they suspect the blaze started in the attic of the home. Kelly said investigators did not know if the woman had been targeted because she lived alone or if the slaying was a random act that occurred during the burglary of the residence.

Kelly said investigators were asking residents in the area if they had surveillance camera footage between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. that may have captured some clues. Anyone with information was asked to call 510-667-3636 if they have any details that could lead to an arrest in the case.