CLYMER — Authorities will rely on results of blood and tissue tests to solve the death of a Clymer woman whose body was found in the snow outside her home Friday morning.
An autopsy performed Saturday at UPMC Altoona Hospital allowed investigators to rule out trauma and to virtually exclude foul play in the death of Janice Keith, said Indiana County Coroner Jerry Overman Jr.
The death has been labeled suspicious until cause can be established, according to District Attorney Patrick Dougherty.
Keith, 66, was discovered near the porch of her home at 150 Spruce St. by a worker at a nearby hair styling salon, Dougherty said.
A lack of visible injury helped authorities to almost immediately exclude violence such as stabbing or shooting, and “now we can rule out any type of physical harm such as being beaten,” Overman said.
The autopsy, he said, revealed no bruising or broken bones that may not have been visible when Keith’s body was found.
Overman said the exam also showed no evidence of sexual assault.
Detailed laboratory study of blood and tissue would uncover health problems, such as chemical substances that are produced from illnesses or a heart attack, Overman said.
But the autopsy showed no evidence of heart attack or other disease, he said.
Investigators checking on Keith’s health history heard no indication of heart problems.
“From the family, we have heard of nothing of that sort,” he said. “At this point … there was no visible MI (myocardial infarction) that would have caused her heart to stop. So that is why it is pending toxicology.”
Overman said investigators have speculated about medicine she may have been taking.
“We’re suspecting possible prescription drugs, but we don’t know that either yet,” Overman. “It looks like foul play has been ruled out. It may be something on the medical side, or some kind of accidental death.”
“We still need to wait for the results of the toxicology before we make any formal decisions,” Dougherty said Saturday evening.