OROVILLE (CBS13) — Butte County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for who may have killed an Oroville woman known as a loving grandmother and popular neighbor.

Charlene Howarth, 62, was found dead in her home late Sunday morning. Sheriff’s deputies have classified her death as a homicide.

“I don’t believe it’s a suicide at this point. I can’t talk about why I believe that, but that’s our feeling at this time,” said Lt. Al Smith. “But I can say it’s not a natural death.”

One of Howarth’s neighbors says she got home late Saturday night when she happened to notice someone walking into her friend’s house. She didn’t think much of it until the next morning when police showed up.

“And whoever that was did not knock and just went on in, so somebody had a key,” said Jennifer.

Leading up to the weekend, there was no hint of trouble, or signs that Howarth was in danger or depressed.

Jim Blackwell says he saw Charlene just a few days ago, and she was in good spirits. Now a neighbor who works with her grandkids is at a loss.

“She’s friends with everybody,” he said. “She says hi; she waves to you. I just don’t understand why somebody would come and hurt her. She didn’t deserve that.”

The sheriff’s department hasn’t released any suspect information, but are asking anyone who may know what happened to Howarth to contact them immediately.

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