The Bryan man accused of killing his neighbor used the victim's credit card just two hours after she was killed, police documents state.
Christian Edward Olsen, 19, made purchases at stores in Bryan and College Station using a credit card that belonged to Ettie Jean Westbrook, police said. Olsen admitted to killing the 68-year-old after his arrest Wednesday on charges of credit card abuse, officials said.
Police discovered Westbrook's body in the living room of her home in the 3500 block of Oak Hollow Drive after responding to a home security alarm call after midnight Monday.
Assistant police Chief Pete Scheets said investigators contacted Westbrook's credit card company, which noted several suspicious purchases made after 2 p.m. Sunday.
"The detectives went to those businesses and were able to obtain in-store video surveillance to get a picture identification of the suspect," Scheets said. "It was then only a matter of identifying the individual."
Olsen, who lived across the street from Westbrook, was initially charged with three counts of credit card abuse, Scheets said.
"When officers first made contact with him, he was very surprised, appeared scared," he said. "He appeared very calm when he was brought in for booking and didn't ask any questions about why he was being arrested."
Once in custody, Olsen confessed to striking Westbrook several times with a metal object and was charged with murder, police said.
Police said Olsen told investigators he was returning a baking pan he had borrowed from Westbrook on Sunday. After she let him in, he began hitting her, following her from the kitchen to the living room, where she collapsed, court documents say.
Scheets said investigators believe the cause of death was blunt force trauma, although the results of an autopsy are pending. There are no other suspects in the death, he said.
Olsen has had several theft-related arrests dating to May 2006, when he was accused of forging two of his mother's checks to himself for a total of $773.55. In November, he was convicted on forgery and a separate theft charge, and was sentenced to 50 days in jail and five years' probation for each.
Westbrook's family members are still coming to terms with her death, but are relieved a suspect has been arrested, said the Rev. Charles Osborne, pastor of Bryan Central Baptist Church and a spokesman for the family.
"It's nice to have it kind of closed in that way for them before they leave town," he said. "But it still doesn't make it any easier to cope with the pain."
Osborne said the family is satisfied with the investigators' efforts.
"They felt that the police did a really outstanding job," he said.
Learning that the killer may have been Westbrook's neighbor was tough, Osborne said.
"[They are] pretty shocked, especially when you don't expect it to happen in the first place," he said. "[Westbrook] was showing him kindness, and it's just hard to understand how he could've done that."
A memorial service will be held Friday at Bryan Central Baptist Church. Westbrook will be buried next to her husband, in Waynesboro, Miss., on Tuesday, the family has said.
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