A TRAGIC PCSO found murdered near woodland was bludgeoned to death – with cops admitting they have "no idea" who her killer is.
Julia James, 53, was discovered with "significant" head injuries at Akholt Wood in Snowdown, Kent, on Tuesday with her Jack Russell by her side.
Her killer remains at large with police keeping an "open mind" over why she was murdered.
Kent Police Deputy Chief Constable Tim Smith told BBC Radio Kent: "We are working very hard to identify a motive and we are working very hard to identify who may have committed this.
"We don't have any clear suspects at this time but we are working very hard to identify that."
He said he is "not able to say either way" if the attack was sexually motivated.
DCC Smith added: "We are keeping a very open mind about the motive and until we can follow those different lines of inquiry which will help us to get close to the truth we may be able to confirm different parts.
"But at the moment the investigation team need to keep an open mind about why this has happened and who has committed this awful crime."
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DCC Smith said he could not rule out if Julia, who worked for the police for 15 years, was attacked by a stranger as he urged locals to remain vigilant.
He also said hundreds of officers were working on the investigation and following up a number of lines of inquiry.
The cop added: "We have asked people in the Snowdown area to remain vigilant and that advice stands.
"But as I say with this kind of investigation the impact on the family, friends and the community is devastating. But they are thankfully very, very rare.
"We have huge teams of specialist officers working on this to try and get o the truth of it as quickly as we possibly can and most importantly capture this individual."
It comes after police issued a chilling warning to women and children urging them to stay away from wooded areas after the murder.
A woman wasreportedly accosted by a man in a van just two weeks before Julia's body was found.
Locals say two weeks ago the woman walking her dog was approached by a man in a white transit van in Nonington – around a mile from the murder scene.
He was distracted and the woman managed to flee in panic and called out for help.
Now locals living in the rural community have been issued a chilling warning as Julia's killer remains at large.
PCSOs patrolling the village, near Canterbury, told women to stay away from wooded areas and not to “veer from your normal route” when walking home, The Times reports.
Women living in the area say they are now scared to go out alone in the wake of Julia's murder.
One female neighbour said: “We’re all terrified. There’s a lot of dog walkers in the area.
“It’s horrific. We’re aware there’s a report of another woman having been followed.”
Mary Bosson, a cousin of the PCSO's mum, said today: "It is worrying. We all walk our dogs around that area. I have a pregnant granddaughter and she walks her two dogs around there.
"She was there Monday and Tuesday, on her own. We don't know if it was random or what. We won't be doing it now until we find out."
Dorothy Morgan said: "It's so chilling. She was a really nice girl. I just can't believe it. We seldom walk about, but I've seen more people walking around in twos. Quite a lot of people have dogs here."
Another mum, who also lives nearby, said she won't walk her dog on the path where Julia was found.
"I used to go most days on my own but I just wouldn't do that now", she said.
"I'm also having to take my daughter to school, whereas normally she'd take the bus. I don't want her walking on her own, or waiting for it on her own, and I think most parents will probably be doing the same thing.
"There's obviously quite a big police presence so hopefully everything will be OK, and we have a strong community, which is nice."
And it's also alleged a woman was the victim of a "flasher" recently – although the incident was not reported to cops.
Julia worked for Kent Police's domestic violence unit, where she is said to have been a "devoted" advocate for victims.
Cops from the force's serious crime directorate are examining whether her killer was in the area the previous day.
The crime scene is two miles across fields from where Lin Russell and her daughter Megan were bludgeoned to death in July 1996 in Chillenden.
Lin's older daughter Josie, then nine, survived.
Locals say Julia's brings vivid memories back of the horror killings 25 years ago.
The neighbour, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the publication: “It’s just too close to home.
"You associate it with what happened in Chillenden. It makes you think, have we got someone going around killing people in the woods?
“It’s such a wide remote area so presumably whoever has done this awful thing knew the area and knows all the routes out.
"It’s a very popular path and a beautiful woods full of wildlife. Then suddenly this shocking tragedy mars it.”
Julia had two children – a daughter who works for the police and a 23-year-old son. She also had a grandson.
Son Patrick Davis, 23, has taken to Facebook to say a heartbreaking goodbye to his beloved mum.
He wrote: “Mum, I cannot believe I’m even writing this.
"I love you to the moon and back.
"I’m in complete shock and I still don’t even think this is real, but I just hope wherever you may be that you’re happy and comfy because that’s all you deserve.
“You were the most amazing, loving, caring, mother anyone could ever ask for and the circumstances that surround this just don’t make sense.
“I appreciate everyone’s messaging and stuff but I’ve got to ask for people to let me and my family have some space at the moment.
“Fly high mum, I love you so much.”
Officers ramped up the investigation yesterday with cops seen carrying out meticulous fingertip searches in remote woodland and fields.
Her heartbroken colleagues left a touching note for tragic Julia on a floral tribute today.
It read: "PCSO Julia James. Your duty is done. Take it easy for now we will take it from here!
"Thinking of your family at this time. From the guys in blue xx".
Police haven't confirmed if Julia, who is thought to have worked in the domestic violence unit at Kent Police, was on duty at the time.
No arrests have been made and a post-mortem will be carried out to establish a cause of death.
Officers are keen to speak to anyone in the area on Monday or Tuesday who may have seen something unusual or suspicious.
Anyone with information should call 0800 0514526.
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