A woman who police believe is responsible for the stabbing death of her 83-year-old neighbor at a Scottsdale condominium complex on Sunday was released from a psychiatric care facility earlier that day.
Police said Jill Manahan, 40, is suspected of using a knife to kill Grace Wood, a mother and grandmother who had lived in the complex for 12 years and was often seen watering plants on her patio with her gray tabby cat “Dumpy” nearby. Wood lived directly upstairs from Manahan’s unit.
The scene left neighbors of the sprawling complex near 94th Street and Shea Boulevard stunned. Yet no one contacted by the Tribune Monday said they heard any loud noises or commotion that would be consistent with a life-or-death struggle.
“It just kills me I was sitting right there and didn’t hear anything going on,” said Pamela McCarthy, a neighbor whose condo is across from Wood’s. “If there would have been any amount of screaming or yelling, I would have heard it because I keep my window open. I turned around and looked out the window and saw all the police and the tape around the apartment.
“I was thinking about Grace and hoping they would have gotten her out of harm’s way. Then, I saw police marching a petite blond-haired woman down the sidewalk in handcuffs,” McCarthy said.
Police arrested Manahan, who officers discovered with blood on her, on suspicion of second-degree murder and burglary. Officers also found what appeared to be the murder weapon. Police said Manahan was home only 30 minutes from the psychiatric facility before she confronted Wood.
A 911 call about 5:15 p.m. Sunday led police to Wood’s residence. When officers arrived, they discovered that someone apparently forced a way into Wood’s home through a screen door. Officers discovered Wood’s body moments later.
Witnesses said they saw Manahan acting strangely and not speaking coherently before she climbed into the window of her own home.
Just days before the grisly scene, on Thursday, police were called to the same complex where Manahan was observed behaving strangely and speaking incoherently, said Scottsdale police officer Dave Pubins. Officers took Manahan to Scottsdale Healthcare-Shea for a mental health evaluation, police said. She was later transferred to Urgent Psychiatric Care in Phoenix on Friday.
Greg Taylor, a spokesman for Urgent Psychiatric Care Centers, declined comment, citing federal privacy laws.
Manahan was transported to a Maricopa County Jail Monday morning, Pubins said.
One of Wood’s other friends at the complex, who did not want to be named, said police converging around Wood’s home told the woman to go inside and stay there.
“She was a lovely lady and I still can’t believe it,” said the woman, 80. “It’s hard to grasp. I can’t fathom it.”
Management at the Aventura complex, in the 9400 block of East Becker Lane, could not be reached for comment, and its office was closed on Monday.