MISSION HILLS – Just before dawn Feb. 2, as she had nearly every morning for a decade, Mama Sofie shuffled her 92-year-old frame around her Panorama City block, trying her best to stay young. Sofia Gomez, a Guatemalan immigrant with a penchant for Las Vegas’ nickel slots, dyed her hair red, polished her nails and pointed out all the “old” people in the neighborhood – many of them 20 years her junior. “She always thought of herself as young, and worked hard to look that way, too,” said Sonia Salgado, one of Gomez’s 10 grandchildren. Gomez was also a loving and gentle woman, which makes it impossible for her family to understand why she was killed Feb. 2, fatally beaten as she returned home from her early morning walk. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant “It’s a horrible person who would do that,” said Gina Hernandez, another granddaughter. “You live there for 10 years, you think it’s safe. Everybody liked her. Everybody knew her. She was defenseless.” On Monday, relatives, politicians and police offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and prosecution in the slaying. “We refuse to accept that nobody saw anything,” said City Councilman Alex Padilla, who secured the reward from the council. “It doesn’t make sense to us, at this time of day in a working-class neighborhood, that nobody saw anything, nobody heard anything and nobody knows anything. It’s clearly a cold-blooded person that would attack a 92-year-old woman.” Gomez came to the United States in 1973 from Guatemala, where she turned her love of children into a full-time job, working as a baby sitter. She also served as the matriarch of a huge family, including three children, 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandson. She organized family gatherings and cooked for everyone, often making Chinese food, especially barbecued chicken. She played with the children, ruffling their hair and making sure they had enough to eat. “She took care of every one of us,” Salgado said. “She loved to see all of her grandchildren.” Police have no idea why she was attacked that Thursday morning. A neighbor found her lying on the sidewalk and, thinking she’d fallen, called 911. It wasn’t until she arrived at a hospital that doctors discovered she’d suffered blunt-force trauma to the head and realized she had been beaten. Police have no witnesses, even though it happened at a time when people are often leaving for work. They don’t believe Gomez was robbed or that her death was gang-related. “This was a tragic and brutal murder,” LAPD Detective Jim Freund said. Anyone with information on the case can call Mission Area homicide detectives at (818) 838-9810 during business hours, or (818) 838-9800 after hours. Josh Kleinbaum, (818) 713-3669 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!