PATTERSON — Someone intruded on an elderly Doris Road couple just after dark Sunday, said Pierce County Sheriff Ramsey Bennett, killing the woman and injuring the man in an armed robbery.
Friends and neighbors of Floral and Dan Halmen, a poor farming couple who “were generous to a fault and a help to many,” professed shock as word of the dastardly crime spread.
Officially, the identity of the couple was not released pending notification of next of kin, Bennett said this morning at 9 o’clock. But the community by then was already well abuzz over the news.
“This happened on Doris Road out from Patterson off of Tyre Bridge Road,” said Bennett. “It’s close to Wayne County.”
Bennett declined to release any details other than to say “we had a home invasion, an armed robbery and are investigating a homicide.”
Bennett said one person, a man (obviously Dan Halmen), was taken to an unspecified  hospital for treatment. Friends indicated it was a hospital in Jacksonville, Fla. His condition was not known at 10:30 a.m.
Bennett would not specify if law enforcement has a suspect but he did say there is a “person of interest that we want to talk to.”
One acquaintance of the Halmens who lives not far from the crime scene in Bristol said, “Dan was a very giving person and was always helping people” who were in need of a handout. “I don’t think they were at all what you would call wealthy, but they were generous with what they did have.”
Asked their ages, the friend said “very elderly, probably in their 90s.”
A  neighbor said Dan and Floral Halmen had no children and lived alone in their pink block house.
“It was just the two of them working their farm for many, many years,” he said. “Dan was just a good, old man who would never hurt anyone.”
An acquaintance of the couple said such a horrible crime in a relatively crime-free rural area puts people on edge and “makes you want to be more alert, for sure.”
The acquaintance added: “I did not know the woman, I think she stayed pretty much at home. He worked for my husband’s grandfather for years running heavy equipment. I used to see him at the grocery store a lot. He was always out and about in Patterson and always had a big smile on his face.”
Spokespersons at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation offices in Kingsland and Douglas said they were not involved in the investigation.