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Police identify body of woman found in Hagerstown house

Detectives await results of autopsy

August 02, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS
  • Jeff Kercheval, center, a forensic scientist with the Hagerstown Police Department, talks with Hagerstown Police Officers William Decker, left, and Lt. Mike King, right, Sunday afternoon at a home at 208 N. Cannon Ave. in Hagerstown.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

The body found in a North Cannon Avenue home Sunday morning had been dead for at least a week, Hagerstown Police Lt. Mike King said Monday.

The body, found at 208 N. Cannon Ave., has been identified as that of Tammy Elisabeth Myerly, 27, who lived at that address, police said. She was also known as Tammy Elisabeth Shives.

Police flagged the death as suspicious due to Myerly's age and the state of the scene, police said Sunday. However, a preliminary autopsy found no obvious cause of death, making it possible that her death did not involve foul play, Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said Monday.

An official cause of death will take more time to determine because laboratory results from the autopsy will be necessary, police said.

"We're in a holding pattern for about two to three weeks," King said.

King said there was no way to know exactly how long Myerly had been dead because factors such as temperature play a large role in the state of a body.

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"The weather we've been having would cause decomposition to accelerate," he said.

King said he believed Myerly had broken off ties with her family, which might have explained why her body was not found sooner.

King said police had talked to "a number of people," but had not talked to a man who had lived in the home with Myerly. He said police would like to talk to him.

Police were called Sunday morning after a neighbor noticed an odor coming from the home, went in to check and found a dead person, authorities and the neighbor said.

The neighbor, Heather Burke, said she had been complaining about the odor since moving into the neighboring home two weeks ago.

Myerly had been due in court July 13 for a hearing in a civil matter, but she failed to appear, court records show.

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