STOCKTON, CA - Hazel Dingman's children haven't looked through old photographs of their mother in years. They never needed to since they saw her every day. Brian Dingman and his sister Susan Trinchera would take shifts checking in on their mother, making sure she was never alone for most of the day.
The 84-year-old Dingman preferred to live independently. She was diagnosed with mild dementia and Alzheimer's disease, but was otherwise healthy and outgoing.
"She loved to get out and walk every day," said Trinchera.
"She could talk to the richest man or the poorest just the same. She loved talking to people and always had a smile."
Dingman insisted on living alone in the secluded house that belonged to her mother on Downing Street in south Stockton. It was inside her home where her daughter found her body last week. Stockton police called Dingman's murder "heinous," saying she suffered severe trauma to her body and there were signs she may have been sexually assaulted.
"This person is probably not going to stop with my mom," said son, Brian Dingman. "Everyone in Stockton is vulnerable to this guy."
"This wasn't about robbery or taking material things. It's a crime that's beyond that," said Trinchera. "And that's what makes this person so, so dangerous."
Dingman's three children said she was a small woman and her dementia would have prevented her from telling police an accurate description of her attacker or details of the crime.
"They had no reason to hurt her," said Brian Dingman. "She wouldn't have been able to identify them and if they asked for anything, she would have given it to them."
The community outpouring of grief and anger over Dingman's murder has prompted her family and neighbors to start a reward for information leading to her killer. The Hazel Dingman Memorial Fund is accepting donations at any Bank of the West branch. All donations will go to the reward for information.
"To have this person hurt someone again is unacceptable," said Brian Dingman. "We want this person off the street."