A Winston-Salem woman who was found beaten in a park has died. Ella Lorine Crawley, 50, died from her injuries on Sunday. Lt. Gregory Dorn of the Winston-Salem Police Department said a man and woman found Crawley just after 7 a.m. near a walking path in Gateway Commons Park in the Aster Park area off Northwest Boulevard.
She had visible head injuries. Dorn said that officials at the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office found that Crawley died from blunt-force trauma and strangulation. Police are investigating her death as a homicide. No arrests have been made, and detectives are seeking to interview anyone who might have seen anything between midnight and 7 a.m. on Saturday.
Crawley used to live in the area and had been in contact with her family before she went walking in Gateway Commons Park. Police haven’t determined when she might have been assaulted, Dorn said. Bobby Ellison, one of her two brothers, said his sister was a good person but had struggled for years from mental-health issues.
She had taken medication but recently stopped. Her life began to spiral downward when that happened, he said. She lost her apartment about a year ago and became homeless, he said. He said he didn’t know if she was homeless at the time of her death.
Crawley had lived for years in the Aster Park area where she was killed, he said. Ellison said his mother adopted Crawley when she was a child. She grew up in Bluefield, W. Va., where she graduated from Bluefield High School. Crawley was incredibly smart, said Ellison, who retired after 25 years from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
Ellison’s brother, Alex Crawley, also retired from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. Ellison said his sister moved to Winston-Salem around the late 1990s and early 2000s and worked for Novant Health, preparing food for staff members and patients. In early 2019, Crawley was reported missing, but she was quickly located.
Ellison said the last time he saw his sister was about a month ago. He said she seemed to be in good spirits. He said his sister was a Christian who talked often about the Bible. “She never bothered anybody,” he said. “I don’t know who killed her. I hate it happened to her.”
On Monday, he and his wife went to where Crawley was found and planted flowers. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Winston-Salem Police at 336-773-7700 or Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800. Crime Stoppers can also be reached on Facebook at Crime Stoppers of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County.