Police investigate death of woman found in pond

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WEST VALLEY CITY -- West Valley City police are trying to determine how a 73-year-old woman died. She was found in a fish pond in her backyard Sunday night.

Police say the woman's death is suspicious. But neighbors we spoke to say they don't believe foul play was involved, only a medical condition and bad timing.

Carolyn Key, a friend of the victim's, said, "I thought maybe because she did have serious health problems she could have had a heart attack or something and just fell over into the pond."

Neighbor Hartence Dalton said, "She had Alzheimer's and I think she probably went outside and slipped and fell."

The woman was found Sunday night around 8:30 by a man who rents the studio apartment in the back of her house near 3200 South and 2860 West. Police say he found her body face down in the fish pond.

Lt. Dallan Taylor of the West Valley City Police Department said, "It's a small pond. It's maybe a foot deep, about 2 feet wide and 10 feet long."

Police say the renter pulled the woman from the pond and called 911. He then performed CPR until help arrived. But once medical crews got to the woman, it was too late.

"The paramedics examined her and felt that she had been deceased too long to revive," Taylor said.

Investigators now are trying to determine how long the woman had been in the water and how she got there.

"For right now we're treating it as a normal criminal investigation until we can obtain enough information to show us that it's an accident," Taylor said.

Police say the woman lives with her husband. He was in Idaho visiting family Sunday night when her body was discovered. Investigators did not plan to release the woman's name until they had found and notified her husband.

Neighbors are surprised and saddened by the woman's death.

"I said, ‘What?' I loved her as a neighbor and I feel sad about her," Carolyn Key said.

Police say an autopsy is being done to determine the exact cause of death.


Story compiled with contributions from Shara Park and Andrew Adams.

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