An unidentified man possibly posing as a utility worker was described by police today as a “person of interest” in the robbery and killing Friday night of a San Francisco woman at her Russian Hill apartment.

Kathleen Horan, 46, was found dead inside her second-floor home at 900 Chestnut St. about 4:25 a.m. Saturday when police responded to a request for a well-being check by someone who knew her, police said.

A cause of death hasn’t been determined.

“We understand now that, as a family, we’re asking for help, from the general public, from you folks in the media, to locate this individual … and get him off the street,” John Horan, Horan’s uncle, said today in a phone interview.

“It’s not going to bring complete closure, as far as the family is concerned, but it’s sure going to help,” he said.

San Francisco police this morning released a sketch of the suspect, who they said was a white man in his late 20s to early 40s, between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall, with a medium build, wearing a hard hat, utility vest and utility belt and carrying a tool box.

“The suspect posed as a utility worker to gain access into the building,” Capt. David Lazar said.

The suspect had knocked on several doors saying he was checking for a gas leak, he said.

“And unfortunately it sounds like my niece opened the door,” Horan said.

The man was seen in the area at about 6:15 p.m., and Horan was believed to have been killed at about 7 p.m., police said. Items belonging to Horan were found outside the apartment.

“We are exploring all the possible motives,” Lazar said.

Police said the suspect might have suffered an injury to his left hand.

Officers are asking anyone who may have seen the suspect or may have other information about the killing to call the homicide unit at (415) 553-1145 or the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.

Horan, a publicist, had just returned to the city Friday from a trip to Argentina with her mother, according to her uncle.

“They just returned from the trip, and her mother said goodbye to her, not knowing that it was a final goodbye,” Horan said.

His niece loved to travel, and was active in charity work and neighborhood activities, he said.

Her family is still grieving but is hopeful her killer will be found.

“Now it is just a waiting process,” Horan said.

Suspect information illustration: SFPD

Ari Burack, Bay City News

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