The family of a police officer believed to have been murdered while walking her dog near their home has issued a statement.
Police have opened a homicide investigation after PSCO Julia James was found dead with head injuries in a forest earlier this week.
In a statement released by Kent police on Friday afternoon, Ms. James’ family said: “There are no words to adequately describe the emptiness our mother’s death has left in our lives.
“It was so much to so many people; a wife, mother, daughter, nanny, sister and a friend.
“Mom was very loyal, she loved with all her heart and nothing was too much trouble for the people who were important to her.
“She had a beautiful smile and was always quick to laugh, she was so naturally funny with a brilliant sense of humor.
“It is difficult to describe a person in a few sentences, to describe who they really were, but the people who knew them will know how nice they were and how they would bring so much fun and life to a room.
“Your loss will be felt by us every moment of every day. She will be missed so much. As a family we try to understand how we can manage our life without them, it seems like an impossible task.
“We would like to thank everyone who sent and left flowers. The love and support from friends, the local community, and our police family has been tremendous.
“After meeting the police, we are confident that they will do everything in their power to find the person responsible, and I encourage anyone with information, no matter how small or insignificant, to get in touch to contact the police.
“You could help us meet Julia.”
Detectives said they are considering “all possible” motives for the murder of a PCSO who died of blunt head trauma.
The body of 53-year-old Julia James was found Tuesday in Akholt Wood in Snowdown near Aylesham, Kent.
She was off duty and not in uniform at the time of her death.
At a press conference in Aylesham, near Canterbury, on Friday, Kent Deputy Police Chief Constable Tom Richards urged the public to be “vigilant” and “be aware of those around you.”
He declined to rule out the possibility that Ms. James was killed by a stranger, someone she met while on the job, someone trying to steal her dog, or as part of a sexual assault.
No arrests have been made and no suspects have been identified, Richards told reporters.
He made no comment on a possible murder weapon and declined to say whether detectives had found any signs of combat.
Ms. James’ body was found “a few hundred yards from her home,” he said.
Mr. Richards said, “We currently have no identified suspects; We are keeping all options open as we fully investigate the circumstances of this matter and try to fully understand what happened.
“We don’t understand the motive right now.”
However, he added that “there is no evidence that any of their possessions are missing”.
He took a moment to pay tribute to Ms. James, who joined the police in 2008.
Mr. Richards said: “She was an extremely dedicated, passionate person who was fully committed to serving the people of Kent. She is very much missed and lost by her colleagues.
“My heartfelt thoughts go out to her family, friends and of course her colleagues.”
Mr. Richards stressed that the murder was a “terrible” but “incredibly rare and isolated” incident.
He said: “I want to encourage people to be careful, be vigilant, be aware of their surroundings and report concerns to Kent Police.
“We are very, very interested in that, but no, I don’t specifically advise women or anyone else to stay at home or avoid certain places.
“But until we understand exactly what happened and why it happened, of course I understand why people are concerned.”
The death of Ms. James has been a source of grief in the area where she served as PCSO and has been described as a “heart of gold”.
It has also raised concern in a community less than three miles from the village of Chillenden, where Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan were murdered in a savage attack while they were walking their dogs in July 1996.
When asked whether police are investigating a link to the 1996 murders or whether Ms. James may have been murdered by a copycat, Mr. Richards said he understood local residents may have concerns.
He added: “As I said earlier, we do not understand the motive in this case, which is of course challenging for the investigation.
“I acknowledge, of course, that this will have an impact on local communities – that famous case you are referring to is pretty close here.
“But just for the sake of clarity, this is a case with a convicted person serving a prison term. This conviction has been examined by the appeals court, but as I have said several times, we keep our assessment of the motive completely open at this point, we are in no way blinked. “
Among the growing collection of flowers, candles, and tributes left to Mrs. James in Aylesham was a note praising “beautiful Julia”.
It read, “I am so grateful to have you in my life and I will hold onto all of these special memories. Heroes live on forever and you were surely one of me. “