HOUSTON -

Police are searching for the person responsible for sexually assaulting an elderly Houston woman and beating her to death.

Houston police said Alejandra Gueldner, 72, died on Jan. 17 after she was found beaten in front of a business near downtown Houston.

Police said Gueldner left work at the Hilton Americas at 1600 Lamar Street around midnight that day.

Officials said Gueldner was seen on surveillance video walking out the back door of the building and walking on Polk Street, before walking on Avenida De Las Americas. From there, video showed her walking in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center where she then appeared to turn onto Rusk Street. After that, she was not seen again.

According to police, Gueldner normally rode the METRO 50 Harrisburg line to her home near Broadway in southeast Houston.

Officials believe she either never made it to the bus stop at Texas Avenue and Hamilton Street or she decided to walk home.

Police said around 4:45 a.m. that morning, employees called 911 after they found Gueldner in front of their business in the 1200 block of Hardy Street.

"I see the face. Real bad," said Emigeio Ramos, who discovered Gueldner lying on the ground beside a trash dumpster at about 4:45 that Friday morning.

He told Local 2 that she was lying on her back, her face was badly bruised and she was barely moving. He called 911. An ambulance rushed her to the hospital where she died five days later.

Officials said Gueldner had suffered blunt force trauma and was sexually assaulted.

Police said a witness described seeing Gueldner on Hardy Street around 3:45 a.m. Then, at about 4:30 a.m., a light colored SUV was seen driving by and briefly stopped. At this time police do not know if the driver is connected to this case.

Houston police were joined by members of Gueldner's family at a Friday morning press conference.

"She was loved by so many. And all the family is just in mourning at the moment," said Gueldner's son, Leslie Gueldner. "She was real caring, real friendly woman. Giving. Would give anyone anything they needed."

Family friend Sam Barraza said, "She wouldn't accept rides. Sometimes we would see her and try to give her a ride and she wouldn't accept it. I know if she was taken to this spot, she was taken against her will."

That same relative went on to say, "Please contact authorities and please help us find out who did this so we can at least get a little bit more closure."

Anyone with information is asked to call the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.