A 26-year-old homeless woman is behind bars charged with murder in connection with Ottawa's first homicide of the year. Among other leads, police say they're investigating the possibility of a prostitution deal gone wrong.

"The investigation is still very much ongoing at this point. A ground search in the area of Stanley Avenue concluded this afternoon and we await still the results of the autopsy," Sgt. Mike Haarbosch told CTV Ottawa on Monday.

Jennifer Bird is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of 43-year-old Simon Hubbard who was found dead in a pool of blood outside his New Edinburgh home on New Year's Day. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Police say the victim and accused were known to each other, and the incident doesn't appear to be a random attack.

During her five-minute court appearance on Monday, Bird held her head low as she answered questions from the judge.

Police are still waiting for autopsy results to determine Hubbard's exact cause of death. Hubbard's Facebook page says he was a graduate of Ottawa's Colonel By High School, as well as Algonquin College where he studied electrical engineering.

Meanwhile, those who know Bird say she is a kind young woman who may have acted in self-defense.

"I heard 18 times she stabbed him out of self-defense and that he was beating her. I don't know what the topic was about," said friend Shannon Roland.

"I think she was in danger. She was a kind person and very respectful," added Robert Cormier, who last saw Bird on Sunday afternoon.

Bird is now forbidden from contacting some friends, as well as Hope Outreach, a division of the Shepherds of Good Hope. Her next court appearance is scheduled via video link on Friday.

Meantime, police want to ensure residents that they shouldn't worry about the safety of their neighbourhood, which is located just minutes from the prime minister's residence.

Police are continuing their investigation. Anyone with information about the homicide is asked to contact the Ottawa Police Major Crime Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5493 or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477 (TIPS) or toll free at 1-800-222-8477.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua