The body of a 72-year-old woman was discovered by her son Thursday, days after she had been stabbed to death in her Adams-Morgan apartment, D.C. police said yesterday.

Third District Cmdr. Jose Acosta said the body of Ruby Currie Davis was found in her apartment in the 2400 block of Ontario Road NW by a son who had arrived to check on her. Detectives believe that Currie, who lived alone, had been dead for "several days," Acosta said.

Davis was pronounced dead at 9 p.m. Thursday, six hours after she was found. The D.C. chief medical examiner, Jonathan L. Arden, said an autopsy conducted yesterday found that Davis died of stab wounds to the neck and torso.

Acosta said the apartment showed some signs of a struggle. Detectives have not ruled out robbery as a motive, although a purse with money in it was found at Davis's home, Acosta said.

The stabbing was the first homicide this year in the police patrol service area that includes Currie's apartment, Acosta said.

"It's a pretty unusual occurrence," said Mark A. Wright, a member of the 1C Advisory Neighborhood Commission, which covers the area where Davis lived. Wright said the neighborhood, removed from the bustle of Adams-Morgan's commercial strip, is generally quiet.

Linda S. Diaz, who used to live in Davis's building and who works at a day-care center in the same block, described the retired Washington Hospital Center nurse as "just a wonderful, sweet, caring person, pleasant, soft-spoken."

Diaz added: "You can tell there was gentleness and love and kindness in her. She walked with a wonderful smile, always smiling."

The victim's granddaughter, Lawanda A. Green, said that she could not believe her grandmother had been slain. "If you needed anything, she would do it," Green, 20, said of the woman she called Nanny. "She was never a 'me' person. . . . She's been through everything with me: graduation, prom, everything."

Davis is survived by three other grandchildren and by two sons, Patrick M. Davis of Capitol Heights and Gregory M. Davis of Atlanta, according to family members.

Acosta said homicide detectives are continuing to investigate the death.

Metro researcher Bobbye Pratt contributed to this report.