Rebecca A. Nicholson, 49, was slain, authorities said Friday, after an autopsy revealed that she had been shot once in the heart with a small-caliber weapon.
The bullet went through her heart sometime after midnight Wednesday, Chautauqua County Sheriff John Bentley said following the autopsy performed by the Erie County medical examiner in Buffalo. No weapon was found in her two-story home on Prospect Road, the sheriff said.
There also were reports that a window had been broken, apparently from the outside, and a screen peeled back.
Bentley said the sheriff's office was notified of the death at 11:45 a.m. Thursday after her brother, William Lynch, discovered Ms. Nicholson's body.
Relatives said Lynch, who lived with Ms. Nicholson, is blind as the result of a brain tumor.
Bentley declined to say whether his investigators had uncovered a motive or had identified a possible suspect. But he indicated that some progress had been made as the investigation continued.
Investigators were told that Ms. Nicholson had worked as a ward secretary in an Erie, Pa., hospital and more recently was a part-time employee at the Job Corps camp near Casadaga.
Neighbors said Ms. Nicholson and her brother kept to themselves. They said she had a grown daughter living in Connecticut and that they believed she had been married twice.