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Great-Grandmother Found Stabbed To Death In Her Rural Illinois Home. More Than A Decade Later, The Killer Remains Free.

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Source: Unsplash; Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office

Aug. 10 2022, Published 2:26 p.m. ET

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A 65-year-old woman was found stabbed to death in her rural Illinois home. Nothing appeared off and there were no signs of forced entry.

Who was in the house when she died is still unknown — even more than a decade later.

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On Dec. 27, 2008, Constance Hounsell was found murdered in her home in Rockton, Illinois, according to the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

She died in the basement with a stab wound to the neck. There were so signs of forced entry and Hounesll lived alone in the home.

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Her daughter, Kate Afholder, told the Rockford Register Star in 2015 that she lived in the same town and remembered the call to tell her that her mom was murdered just days after Christmas.

"You feel like you're living on pause," Afholder said in July. "A small part of your life still feels stuck in 2008. ... It's just a tremendous sense of having no closure."

Hounsell worked as an aide at Shirland Elementary School for a decade. She retired in 2005, the same year her husband died, according to the Register Star. She then worked in a department store.

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In 2015, Hounsell was survived by eight children, 18 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

"We've all had to explain what happened to grandma and why sometimes it takes so long for justice. ... Not being able to put a face and name to this makes it this big question mark,” Afholder told the newspaper. “It could be anybody. That's what we've been fearing the last seven years. One of our biggest fears is never having this puzzle solved."

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In 2021, sheriff’s deputies had renewed energy to solve the case. They partnered with other agencies to give more resources to an investigation.

“There’s no question in my mind that it will be solved, it’s just a matter of when,” Deputy Pete Dal Pra told the Beloit Daily News. “I can tell you that there have been reports written in the last year on the Hounsell case that no one would have been able to write 10 years ago.”

So far, those efforts have not been successful. Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact police at (815) 319-6400.

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