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Police say alcohol killed woman found in Baker Heights

December 28, 1998|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A woman found dead in the backyard of a Baker Heights home early Saturday died of acute alcohol poisoning, police said.

West Virginia State Police said preliminary findings from an autopsy on Peggy L. Endley, 49, of Baker Heights, revealed she had an alcohol level more than three times the legal limit for driving when she died.

Police had been treating Endley's death as a homicide until they were able to rule out foul play.

Police said the woman left the Log Cabin Club on Charles Town Road about 6:30 p.m. on Christmas night after drinking about four beers with her boyfriend. Police said she had an argument with her boyfriend at the bar, but there was no indication why she decided to walk away from the bar alone.

Using a K-9 unit from the Frederick Barracks of the Maryland State Police, investigators traced the woman's final route less than a half-mile from the bar through a wooded thicket, a barbed-wire fence, Orchard Estates and, finally, to the Baker Heights backyard where her body was discovered about 7:45 the next morning.

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Preliminary medical findings indicate Endley received scratches on her arms and back from the thickets, then hit her head when she stumbled down an incline, police said, adding she walked a few hundred yards after she fell before ending up at the spot where her body was found.

Senior Trooper M.M. Kingery said the coroner's office in Charleston is still trying to determine if Endley died before she fell or if she first laid on the ground to rest. Kingery said the single-digit temperatures outside were not a factor in Endley's death and added the coroner is still trying to determine her time of death.

Police interviewed about 15 people during the investigation, including her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend. Police withheld the names of those interviewed.

A state police news release stated those interviewed said the convenience store clerk "drank all of the time" and had "begun to drink even more heavily and had consumed a significant amount of alcohol prior to entering the bar."

Kingery said the majority of the woman's drinking on Dec. 25 was done at her home at Baker Heights Apartments, No. 2.

Police said it was unclear why the woman consumed so much alcohol the night of her death.

"There was no indication she was depressed," Kingery said. "Anything we would come up with would be speculation."

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