A 41-year-old man has been charged with first degree murder after the death of an 84-year-old woman in Woodstock.

Stephen Dustin appeared in a Woodstock court Thursday morning where the charge against him was upgraded from second degree murder.

His emotional family members screamed at him outside the courthouse as he entered. Dustin was remanded in custody until his next court appearance on September 17th.

Police found Pearl Brown’s body when they were called to a duplex at 58 Huron Street in the east end of Woodstock on Tuesday around 6:15 p.m.

Initially described as suspicious, Woodstock Deputy Police Chief  Daryl Longworth says "There was a post mortem conducted on August 14th. And as a result of that post mortem it was determined that the cause of death was a homicide."

The exact cause of death has not yet been released.

Neighbours describe Brown as a nice, quiet woman who was often on the swing on her front porch. They say she and Dustin knew each other.

Michele Peters lives up the street and says she would walk by and check on how Brown was doing from time to time and would see Dustin at the home.

"He's been renting a room from her. He's been back and forth I don't know how many times renting from her...I kind of want to cry and grieve for her but it's acceptance right now."

With files from The Canadian Press