STANFIELD, LaVeda - Fountain County INGenWeb Project

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Source: Crawfordsville Journal Review, May 22, 1974
ATTICA – The death of LaVeda Stanfield, 59, who was found dead in the kitchen of her home here last May 20, has been ruled a homicide. Fountain County Coroner Dr. W. C. Kinser said in a report released late Thursday that Miss Stanfield died from suffocation which was “intentional, homicidal” and came “at the hands of person or persons unknown.” The coroner also said a burn on the victim’s left arm was caused by an electric toaster and was sufficient to have caused electrocution. He further ruled that the electrocution, like the suffocation, was “intentional, homicidal.” The report which contained contradictory statements concerning the burn from the toaster, said a pathologist who conducted an autopsy was of the opinion the electrical charge entered the woman’s body after she already was dead. However, later in the report the autopsy protocol was quoted thus: “Taking into consideration the position of the body, particularly the left forearm against the toaster, and taking into consideration the marked electrocoagulation or burn effect on the posterior surface of the forearm, it is our opinion that death is due to electrocution in this case.” Dr. Kinser, although listing dual causes of death in his coroner’s inquest report, disagrees with police officers’ finding. He said “tests that were carried out locally fail to convince the coroner” that the woman wasn’t dead from suffocation “before coming into contact with the toaster…” Kinser acknowledged in his report that “There is disagreement between the coroner and some police officers as to the role the electric toaster played in this death The coroner believes it (electrocution) to be of a secondary nature, during the struggle the toaster was overturned, water was turned on and was on the countertop.” Kinser said he based his finding of suffocation on abrasions and contusions of the mouth and gums and a laceration of the lower lip, all of which “point to considerable pressure having been brought to bear in that region.” Investigators reported finding furniture in the house overturned and broken, indicating the woman struggled against her assailant. In a bizarre aspect to the case, Kinser said Miss Stanfield had been dressed by someone other than herself, giving rise to speculation that this had occurred after she had become unconscious or was dead. “The body was dressed in such disorder that it immediately became evident that it was done in much haste and by a person not familiar with women’s clothing,” the coroner said. Further, “The position in which the body was found points to (the victim) having been forced there during a struggle.” The time of death was set at 4 a.m. The body was discovered several hours later. The autopsy showed the woman had not been sexually attacked nor was there evidence of drug or alcohol intoxication. Miss Stanfield was a graduate of Indiana state University and was employed by Eli Lilly Co. at Indianapolis. She was the daughter of Mrs. Edith Stanfield and the late Dr. William V. Stanfield.   -– jlr

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