The Richmond Register

Local News

July 24, 2008

Death is now ruled a homicide

It wasn’t a fall that ended the life of an elderly Richmond woman this week.

It was murder.

New information in the death case of Joann Tribble, 78, who was found injured in her home early Monday morning has changed the cause of death from an accident to a homicide, according to the Richmond Police Department.

“The (state) medical examiner ruled the death a homicide based on evidence that Tribble’s injuries were caused by being struck in the head by an object,” Sgt. Willard Reardon said Thursday morning.

Police and emergency officials initially were called to Tribble’s home about 1:30 a.m. Monday after a caller said an elderly female had “fallen and was unconscious,” Reardon said.

The responding officers found Tribble alive, but unconscious and suffering from a serious head injury that originally was suspected of being caused by a fall.

Tribble initially was transported to Pattie A. Clay Medical Center by Madison County EMS and later transferred to the University of Kentucky Medical Center where she was pronounced dead by the Fayette County Coroner’s Office at 10:50 a.m.

Police meanwhile processed the scene at Tribble’s home in a “precautionary” manner.

“That is customary in cases where the manner of death has not been fully established,” Reardon said.

Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock said details at the scene did not immediately point to the case as a homicide investigation.

“The original release indicated that it appeared to be an accidental fall because there were no obvious signs to investigators of foul play,” Brock said.

The State Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy Tuesday morning on Tribble to clarify and establish the cause of death. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide based on evidence that Tribble’s head injuries were “caused by being struck in the head by an object, rather than by the reported fall,” Reardon said. “This is something that would not necessarily have been detectable by officers at the scene,” Brock said.

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