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Homicide ruled out in death

April 05, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

Homicide has been ruled out as the cause of death for a 28-year-old woman who was found dead Sunday in her Hagerstown apartment, Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Paul Kifer said Tuesday.

Detectives received a preliminary report Tuesday from the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner indicating that their Baltimore office's initial autopsy of Tracy Dennis' body turned up no signs of trauma.

"Based upon their findings and some evidence we recovered at the scene, we are ruling out a homicide," Kifer said.

Dennis was found dead on the floor of her bedroom in her third-floor 102 E. Baltimore St. apartment Sunday at about 6 p.m., he said.

Kifer said medical examiners determined that marks detectives found on Dennis' body were not traumatic injuries.

Dennis' cause of death has still not been determined. Detectives are treating the investigation into her death as an unattended death investigation, Kifer said.

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Medical examiners will run toxicology tests to scan for possible drugs or alcohol in her system and other tests to determine whether Dennis died from natural causes or committed suicide, Kifer said.

Doctors could return an accidental death ruling or an undetermined cause of death ruling, he said.

A toxicology test is standard for autopsies, Kifer said. Results from those tests might not be back for four to six weeks, he said.

Patti Wellech, who lived next door to Dennis, said Dennis had an 8-year-old son who lived with Dennis' parents in Frederick County, Md.

Dennis had been working at Bob Evans restaurant and was a student at Hagerstown Business College, Wellech said.

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