The relatives of 83-year-old Peggy Gamble remained shocked Wednesday after learning that someone she knew was arrested as “a person of interest” in her death.
“Oh my God. It killed us yesterday when we found out,” said Cenneta Gunn, Gamble’s youngest daughter. “The detective had called and told us, and it just tore us apart to know that.”
Angelo Short, 42, of Phenix City was taken into custody at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at an apartment complex in the 700 block of Lawyers Lane. He faces an obstruction charge stemming from his arrest and a theft by taking motor vehicle charge related to the beige 1988 Toyota Corolla that was missing from Gamble’s home after her death, police said.
When authorities took Short into custody, he was also wanted on outstanding warrants for robbery and assault charges related to a Piggly Wiggly incident that occurred at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. A police report states that he stole $74 worth of cigarettes from the 910 Brown Ave. store without using a weapon.
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Short is being held in the Muscogee County Jail, where he awaits his 9 a.m. Thursday hearing in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Gunn said Short is the stepson of Gamble’s older daughter, Miriam Short, who is married to Short’s father, Eddie. She said Eddie Short had a stroke in June 2015 and is currently in rehab at the VA hospital in Tuskegee, Ala. She said Angelo Short has been in and out of jail over the years.
One of Eddie Short’s friends took Angelo Short to see his father this weekend, Gunn said. Short promised to help his stepmother take care of his father when he comes home for Christmas, she said.
“He’s paralyzed on his right arm and so he needs 100 percent assistance,” she said of Eddie Short. “And (Angelo) was saying, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna help. I’m gonna help.’”
Gunn said Miriam and Eddie Short have been married for about 20 years. Gamble knew Short personally and was on the phone with a friend Sunday night when someone came to the door.
Gunn said she couldn’t disclose anymore details about the case because it’s still under investigation.
Gamble, a matriarch at Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church, was found dead by a relative around 1 p.m. Monday in a hallway adjacent to her bedroom, police said. She was pronounced dead at 1:34 p.m., according to officials. Rigor mortis had completely set in, meaning that her joints and muscles had stiffened, said Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan.
Authorities found evidence that someone had broken into her home, and the 1988 Toyota Corolla was missing. The vehicle, which has a reported value of $3,000, was found Monday night at an unspecified location in Columbus.
Gunn said the whole ordeal has been hard on the family.
“It’s very disturbing,” she said. “Our nights are not good nights.”