METAIRIE - Clinging to photos of her best friend on Wednesday, Lynn Brown was having a hard time coping with 84-year-old Pauline Ballon's tragic death.
"I know she's up there now with her daughter. Cause her daughter passed away before her," Brown said.
Brown lived across the street from Ballon for several years in Old Jefferson before Ballon moved into the Metairie Manor facility. Brown visited the facility Wednesday, going to her friend's room for the last time.
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"I walked down to her apartment and um...put my hand don her door, and um, said a prayer. told her i missed her already," Brown said.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's office tells Eyewitness News a security guard found Ballon's body lying face down in her bedroom Tuesday night, shortly before 8 pm. Initially investigators thought Ballon died of natural causes, but an autopsy Wednesday morning revealed something disturbing. JPSO now believes someone strangled her.
"It's a horrible way to go. You know, and I loved her so much," Sandra Beavers said.
Beavers lives in Metairie Manor and knew Ballon well.
"I didn't even get to tell her good bye and I loved her. Why. why is there so much killing going on! This world is crazy," Beavers said.
Metairie Manor is a senior living facility for people 62 years and older. The Archdiocese of New Orleans, which operates the facility, released a statement.
"We are deeply saddened by the death of our resident Pauline Ballon and we pray for the repose of her soul and for the consolation of her family and friends," said Christopher Homes, A Senior Living Ministry of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. "At this time we are cooperating fully with authorities and will continue to do so throughout their investigation. At this time we have no further comment and refer all inquiries to the Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office."
As investigators piece together what happened inside of Ballon's bedroom that night, those living at the facility say they hope the person responsible is brought to justice and pays the price for ending the life of a wonderful woman.
"I'm gonna miss her. Miss her terribly," Brown said.
And for turning the peaceful and tranquil environment, upside down.
"I always leave my door unlocked. But I won't be leaving it locked now," Beavers said.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call JPSO's Investigation's Bureau at 504-364-5300.