Freddie Brandon was known for her Easter dinners featuring a menu her family could recite by heart: turkey wings, ham, greens, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato pie.
But Sunday was no holiday for the family of the 78-year-old grandmother, whose body was found Friday afternoon inside her ransacked apartment in the 5900 block of West Boulevard in Hyde Park. Paramedics responded to a call about a cardiac arrest, but the police suspect homicide.
No arrests have been announced by the Los Angeles Police Department.
"It isn't like she had a safe in there with money or diamonds and gold chains," said her daughter Mia Brandon. "Why would they target my momma's house to go and rob her?"
Brandon said her mother had lived in the ground-floor apartment for 22 years and was friendly with neighbors and the customers at the liquor store next door. Crime is fairly common in the area, she said.
A screen grate on the back door appeared to have been cut, Mia Brandon said, and a dresser had been knocked over. Possessions were strewn about. Brandon said she wasn't sure if anything had been stolen.
Freddie Brandon's granddaughter, Rashanda Jones, lived in the apartment with her and was the first to find her after arriving home on Friday. Jones, 26, said her grandmother appeared to have suffered trauma to her head.
"I feel numb. That was all I knew, to be honest. She was all I had," Jones said.
Born in Mississippi, Freddie Brandon had worked as a waitress long ago and raised seven children as a single mother, said Mia Brandon. She was given the nickname "Rock Steady Freddie" because she loved to dance, mostly to oldies.
"She liked to sit and drink wine and laugh," Mia Brandon said. In recent years, Freddie Brandon had been put on a pacemaker and had suffered injuries.
"She couldn't fight back. She was on a walker," Mia Brandon said. "The only thing they robbed my mom for was her life."