Hamilton police are using some strong words to describe the murder of a retired school teacher near Ancaster. They say the death of Audrey Gleave, 73, was "savage".

"Audrey has been the victim of a horrendous, vicious attack," Staff-Sgt. Steve Hrab told a news conference Friday. "In the last 10 years I can't think of one that is more horrific."

Gleave's body was discovered by a friend in her Lynden home Thursday morning. She had been stabbed several times. Investigators said she suffered significant trauma.

Gleave was a former Hamilton school teacher who retired in 2006. Neighbours said she was quiet and lived alone.

Investigators said Gleave probably didn't know her attackers, and the crime may have been sexually motivated.

Police are trying to retrace Gleave's last hours and are searching the area around Lynden for evidence. On Friday they removed a white, 2-door car from her garage.

Anyone with information is asked to call police.