LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Investigators in Arkansas have officially reclassified the brutal attack on a TV anchor as a homicide, but refused to say if Anne Pressly was able to communicate with doctors before she died.
The 26-year-old anchor for KATV died Saturday night in a hospital. Her mother found her brutally beaten on Oct. 20 after the journalist didn't answer her regular wake-up call. Authorities have said they have no suspects.
Flowers and candles piled up Sunday outside Pressly's home, as tributes poured into the Web site of the Little Rock station where her colleagues mourned her death.
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Hundreds of comments flooded the station's Web site from across the United States, including messages from loyal viewers accustomed to seeing Pressly on TV to those who said they'd never heard of her before the attack.
"Although I didn't know her or ever see her on the news I was very touched when I read the first article about her brutal beating. I do hope the person who did this is caught and punished to the full extent," a Connecticut woman wrote.
Frequent viewers of the ABC affiliate's "Daybreak" program recounted how Pressly had affected their lives.
"We never met Anne in person, but she was indeed part of our family as we invited her into our lives and into our living room everyday," wrote a couple from Quitman, Ark. "She stole our hearts with her beautiful smile and bubbly personality."
A makeshift memorial of flowers, candles and stuffed animals lay near a tree Sunday outside the anchorwoman's home, which was still marked with yellow police tape.
KATV has established a reward fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Pressly's killer. The station said Sunday that the fund had reached $30,000.
Police have said they had no indication Pressly was targeted for the attack. Little Rock police spokeswoman Sgt. Cassandra Davis didn't return phone messages Sunday from The Associated Press.
A statement from Pressly's parents, Guy and Patti Cannady, asked for privacy but also for support.
"Our lives will not be the same without her. We ask that you continue to pray for us as we struggle to move forward without our dear sweet daughter," the statement said.
KATV continued Sunday with tributes to Pressly, showing examples of her reporting and its employees offering recollections of working with her. Weekend anchorwoman Pamela Smith read some of the messages posted to the station's Web site.
The station also said Pressly's family plans to establish a scholarship fund in her name.
Pressly was born in South Carolina and moved with her family to Little Rock while she was in high school. She attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.
She had a small role as a conservative commentator in the new Oliver Stone movie "W.," which was filmed in Louisiana.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.