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Woman who fell to her death from balcony is identified

October 13, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Police Tuesday morning identified the 45-year-old woman who died early Monday after she fell from a balcony at the top of one of the Walnut Towers buildings in the first block of South Walnut Street near City Park.

Ronda Ann Shelton had locked herself out of her apartment and was on the seventh floor trying to contact a friend with a spare key to come let her in, Hagerstown Police Sgt. Paul Kifer said Tuesday.

Her family in California has been notified of Shelton's death, Kifer said.

Police said the woman had been locked out of her apartment at Walnut Towers, a Hagerstown Housing Authority building. Investigators believe she was trying to climb from a balcony that can be reached from an eighth-floor common area to the balcony of her apartment in an effort to enter, Kifer said Monday morning.

Officer Pat Moulton responded to the area of Walnut Towers for an unrelated call when she saw the woman outside in bedroom slippers, Kifer said. Moulton spoke with the woman and returned about 30 minutes later to check on her.

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When Moulton returned, she saw the woman hit the ground as she fell, Kifer said.

The woman could have called Hagerstown Housing Authority's emergency number or called a locksmith in an effort to get into her apartment, said Ted Shankle, executive director for Hagerstown Housing Authority.

She did not call the emergency number, Shankle said.

He was notified of the woman's death shortly after it occurred, Shankle said Monday afternoon.

"She was a 45-year-old lady living in our building because of a disability," Shankle said.

He was unsure how long she had lived there, but he said it seemed that not a lot of other residents knew the woman.

A medical examiner pronounced the woman dead. Her body was being transported to Baltimore for an autopsy, Kifer said.

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