HIGHLAND SPRINGS, Va. -- The neighbor of the woman found beaten inside of a burning Henrico County home was arrested in connection with the crime.
Investigators arrested and charged 39-year-old Wendyll Troy Brownie with attempted murder Friday night.
Firefighters responded to a home in the 100 block of North New Avenue around 5:30 a.m. Friday for reports of a structure fire.
Crews went inside and found a woman badly beaten. Police have not released her name.
Paramedics took her to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Curtis Cooper, who said he's known the 78-year-old victim for 30 years, was told by police on it appeared someone had broken into the home during a robbery attempt. That person, the man was told, also set the house fire.
"He set the house on fire after he didn't get what he want," Cooper said. "Why would somebody want to hurt a little old lady?"
Cooper said the woman told him earlier this week that she'd caught a young man peeping into her home.
Neighbors said Brownie lives right next door to the victim.
"She’s been sick on and off," neighbor Joan Campbell said. "I have just been worried about her. She’s like a mother to me."
Other neighbors described Brownie as the outcast of the neighborhood, who lived there for about a year.
He declined an interview from jail, Saturday morning.
The victim's son told WTVR CBS 6 she was awake and talking while recovering at the hospital.
"She’s such a sweet person," Campbell said. "She’d do anything for you."
Anyone having information pertaining to this or any other crime in Henrico County in encouraged to call Henrico Police at 804-501-5000 or Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.