ATLANTA (AP) -- A prominent researcher who studied the links between cancer and obesity was beaten to death in her condominium after a chance encounter with a man who claimed to be interested in buying it, police said Thursday.
Jamal Thompson, 22, was arrested early Thursday and charged with murder in the death of Eugenia Calle, 57, whose boyfriend found her body in her condo late Tuesday, police said. He is being held without bond and police didn't know if he had an attorney.
Police said they identified Thompson in a surveillance video from the posh, 25-story Aqua condominium complex and tracked him down after he used one of Calle's credit cards. He was also charged with robbery and credit card theft.
Police Lt. Keith Meadows said Calle walked by Thompson in the lobby when she heard a real estate agent talking about showing him two condos. She said, "Don't forget about mine. It's for sale, also."
After Thompson saw the two condos, a staffer called to see if Calle wanted her to escort Thompson to hers.
Meadows said she replied, "No, it'll be fine. I don't want him to think that we don't trust him."
While in the kitchen, Thompson hit Calle in the back of the head with an unknown object, Meadows said, though Thompson told a detective he only pushed her and she hit her head on the kitchen counter.
She may have been dead for up to nine hours before her body was found.
Calle had retired from the American Cancer Society this year to do consulting work, said Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer there.
Among other research, she studied the links between cancer and obesity and, separately, cancer and hormone replacement therapy for women. She also contributed to news stories and appeared on national TV programs including "60 Minutes."
"She literally was bragging to me the week before last that she was leaving the department incredibly strong," Brawley said. "She had trained a whole bunch of people. Our epidemiology bench at the American Cancer Society is incredibly talented and she is one of the reasons for that."