Kentucky State Police said Monday they have a warrant for Terrance "Terry" Allen Cram's arrest in the slaying of his landlord.
Tena McNeely, 49, was found dead Friday in her Clay Burgin Road home in Anderson County. An autopsy by the state medical examiner determined she died of brain injury from blunt impact, said Dr. Mark Tussey, the Anderson County coroner.
The medical examiner said he thinks McNeely might have lived minutes to hours after the assault, which is thought to have happened Jan. 3, Tussey said.
"The murder was a brutal assault," Detective Kevin Calhoon said during a news conference at the state police post in Frankfort.
Cram, 47, was last seen Jan. 3 in a green 2000 Nissan Frontier XE pickup with a topper and Kentucky license plate 137-GGZ.
Cram had been renting a room in McNeely's home. She had lived in the house since 1995, police said.
Cram has no criminal history, but police said he is thought to be armed and dangerous. He was married in Arizona, but police don't know the status of the marriage. Cram had lived in the Lawrenceburg area about five years and had once worked at a hardware store there.
Calhoon said he was not aware of Cram's recent employment history.
McNeely was the daughter of Trooper James McNeely, who drowned on April 8, 1972, while on a flood rescue mission. James McNeely, 37, and another law enforcement officer died when the boat in which they were riding swept over the dam at Lock 4 in Frankfort. McNeely's body was never recovered. Tena McNeely was 11 at the time of her father's death.
The two canoeists for whom the officers were searching were later found safe, according to the Fallen Trooper Memorial on the Kentucky State Police Web site.
Tena McNeely's home is at the end of dead-end road about 14 miles west of Lawrenceburg. Neighbor Steve Barnett said the divorced woman cleaned houses in the area and at one time raised chickens and rabbits for a little extra money.
"She was a little bit of a loner, like me," Barnett said. "She cleaned houses for people, and evidently she done a good job. She offered to clean mine and treat me fair on the price, but I never did ask her to."
Barnett described Cram as "different."
"I'd see him in Wal-Mart or somewhere like that, and he'd go in the opposite direction," Barnett said. "He was always in a bad run, and he had a bad case of road rage. Tena had told me, last year he took her to the doctor a time or two, and she said, 'Stevie, I'll never ride with him again. He gets into it with someone everywhere he goes.'"
In another incident, on the day he was last seen, Cram nearly struck a mail carrier's vehicle coming from the opposite direction, Barnett said.
"The mail lady told me she saw him at 4:30 p.m. and he was looking pretty frantic," Barnett said. "She said they met and he liked to have run over her."
Cassie Riley, 20, and her father, Jeff Riley, saw Cram "flying" down the road in the green truck Jan. 3, return to the McNeely house and then leave again in a hurry.
Brenda Riley, Jeff's wife, said she heard two people arguing at the McNeely house a little more than two weeks ago.
"It really did sound bad, you know, it was really loud," Brenda Riley said. "I wish I had called (police). Had it continued, I would have, but they finally quit arguing and we come on inside. It was loud and heated, is all I can say."