Church priest: Murder victim found with bible at her feet

Gwen Jackson (right) was found murdered at St. Mary's Catholic Church Wednesday morning.
Gwen Jackson (right) was found murdered at St. Mary's Catholic Church Wednesday morning.
A wreath hangs at the church in honor of Gwen Jackson
A wreath hangs at the church in honor of Gwen Jackson

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Police are investigating after the body of woman beaten and robbed was found in the parking lot of St. Mary's Catholic Church.

Gwen Jackson was homeless and found dead on the church stoop at the downtown Memphis church.

According to Father Eric Peterson, Jackson was ready to leave the street behind.

"Had a new job lined up and everything. Everything was really going to turn for her," he said. "She was finally getting out of this way of life."

"Every so often she'd knock on the window and I'd come out and she'd say, 'I just wanted to say hi,'" said church secretary Nancy Thielemier. "She was a fixture outside my window and I will miss her."

At 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, it was church staff who arrived and found Jackson dead. She was bleeding from the head. Murdered.

"She didn't deserve this," said Thielemier.

Now, a memorial wreath hangs where she died and a cross in her honor overlooks the soup kitchen dining area where she had eaten so many meals.

Father Peterson says St. Mary's must forgive her killer, but never forget their extended family member.

"Every time I saw her she had a bible in her hand," said Father Peterson. "When she was, the body was found, there was a bible right next to her feet. That says a lot."

Gwen Jackson may have had nothing but she was worth much more to the church.

Investigators encourage anyone with information about this murder to contact Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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