Thursday, 11 April 2013

Woman found in Tennessee River died from strangulation, police seek information

Woman found in Tennessee River died from strangulation, police seek information, The woman found in the Tennessee River last month was strangled and bludgeoned to death, a Chattanooga Police spokesman said Thursday.

The Hamilton County Medical Examiner report ruled the cause of death as strangulation and blunt force injury on the chest and abdomen, Officer Nathan Hartwig said in a prepared statement.

The victim was identified as Deborah Underhill, who may also have gone under the name of Deborah Faye Swafford, Hartwig said.

Police are asking people with information about the woman or surrounding her death to call the police information line at 423.698.2525.

Underhill’s body was found on March 30 on the south bank of the Tennessee River off Patton Chapel Road. Two fishermen found the body around 6 p.m., according to police reports.

She was last seen on March 28 at 9:30 a.m. at the AIM Center, a center that assist with mental illness rehabilitation, on M.L.King Jr. Boulevard. She was wearing a tan plaid shirt, khaki pants and white tennis shoes. She was 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighed 177 pounds and had shoulder length gray hair.

Police said Underhill/Swafford may have lived in the Red Bank and St. Elmo areas. She was also known to frequent the downtown area, particularly the Chattanooga Public Library.

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