CLOSE TO A KILLER: Police near arrest in peace activist's murder - FOX 35 News Orlando

CLOSE TO A KILLER: Police near arrest in peace activist's murder

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After a year, Minneapolis police say detectives are close to catching the killer of a former Robbinsdale school teacher.

Police had a pretty good idea who did it from the start, and so did friends and family members who met with detectives a couple of weeks ago. Investigators believe the killer is someone who was close to Lois Swenson -- someone she had grown to fear.

Swenson was a woman of peace who met a violent end, murdered at the age of 76. When police arrived at her home to perform a welfare check last June, she had already been dead for a couple of weeks. The home was locked and there was no sign of forced entry.

"Lois is the same age as my mother, so it hits home with the detectives more than some other cases," Lt. Rick Zimmerman told FOX 9 News.

A year later, police are now saying they believe the killer is someone she knew.

"She'd help people get on their feet, and we believe someone may've taken advantage of that," Zimmerman explained.

Friends told FOX 9 News her murderer was someone she feared before her death.

"She said she was afraid, and she indicated who she was afraid of," Dale Renke told FOX 9.

Renke confessed it's still hard to believe that a woman who routinely took in boarders, refugees and people who were simply down on their luck would have that generosity turned against her.

"I was just thinking about her, this time she'd go dive in Dumpsters at colleges, match the socks up, wash them and give them to the poor," he recalled.

Yet, since the suspect knew Swenson, that makes the case all the more difficult. That's because any physical evidence found in the home, such as fingerprints, could be explained away.

While the investigation continued, Dianne Boushek and another longtime friend maintained a webpage in Swenson's memory, featuring pictures of the trips she took to Africa and Latin America.

"We kept her memory alive and we want to get this solved because it was so horrific a crime," she said.

As a lifelong peace activist, justice was more than just a word for Swenson and her friends can think of no greater tribute than to see the culprit arrested for her murder.

Swenson's friends are planning several upcoming events in her honor and to bring attention to her murder. For more information, visit:

Anyone with tips is also urged to call Minneapolis police at 612-692-TIPS.

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