A neighbor of Cherylann Jennifer Dowell said she was "a wonderful person who did not deserve what she got."
Dowell, 52, was found dead in her apartment Friday, the victim of a homicide, according to police.
She died of blunt-force head injury, according to the York County Coroner's Office, which said an autopsy was performed Saturday.
Dowell, known as Jen, was close with several of her neighbors in the 500 block of Cedar Village Drive in Manchester Township.
She loved her cat and three dogs - a Yorkshire terrier and two golden retrievers named Peachy and Gracy, neighbor Steve Sucky said.
"Jen was good people," said Sucky. "She was a friend, and we sort of had an undisclosed garden competition to see who could grow the most.
He said she grew flowers and a few vegetables in and outside of her home.
Dowell, 52, worked at Bob Evans as a hostess for the past four years, said Margaret Standing, spokeswoman for Bob Evans Inc.
"We are offering counseling to the employees at our York restaurant as they cope with the loss of their coworker," said Standing. "She was a wonderful employee and will be missed. Our hearts go out to her family and loved ones."
The incident: Dowell's estranged boyfriend and alleged killer remains hospitalized for wounds police say he inflicted on himself.
Ross William Crawford, 40, of 570 Harvest Drive in Manchester Township, is charged with homicide in Dowell's death.
A friend of Dowell's contacted police Friday after she walked in on a bloody scene at Dowell's apartment, according to charging documents. Dowell had not been seen since she reported for work Wednesday.
The friend entered Dowell's home, walked upstairs and saw Dowell lying on the bathroom floor, covered by a sheet. She was not breathing or moving, documents state.
Crawford emerged from the apartment's master bedroom holding a knife and covered in blood, police said. The friend fled the building and called 911.
When police arrived, Crawford threatened to shoot any officers who attempted to enter the apartment. Police summoned the county's Quick Response Team, whose negotiators worked with Crawford for more than three hours before he surrendered. Crawford was taken to York Hospital for treatment.
Once inside: Police found blood spatter in the bedroom and hallway floor, in addition to overturned furniture, broken picture frames and other signs of a struggle, according to documents.
They also found several handwritten notes written by Crawford. One said "Sorry Mom!! I love you & Dad & My Sister. I Love Life. But my true love is gone got to join her."
Another note read, "Tried killing myself with pills did not work will die tonight," according to documents.
York County Deputy Coroner Steve Cosey determined Dowell had been dead for more than 24 hours before she was discovered.
Crawford's condition at York Hospital could not be obtained Monday morning.
Police had responded to incidents between Crawford and Dowell four times in the past year, documents state.
Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to call Northern York County Regional Police at 292-3647 or leave a tip online at nycrpd.org.
- Reach Chelsea Shank at firstname.lastname@example.org.