Two Family Deaths Follow
UPDATE 07/18/08: Forensic tests have confirmed the cause of Cora Lee Suehead's death: pit bull mauling. The 61-year old woman was found dead near her home December 4th, 2007. The pit bulls were taken from her property and underwent DNA testing. The dogs belonged to a relative who had been living on the Suehead property. The dogs have since been destroyed; no charges were ever filed. In the wake of her death, two family deaths have followed.
Walter Suehead, 70, the husband of Cora Lee Suehead, the 61-year-old woman who was killed by the dogs, died of natural causes Sunday in an Auburn hospital, officials for Chapel of the Hills in Auburn said.
His wife was found dead Dec. 4 on family property. Four pit bulls belonging to a relative were seized by Placer County Animal Control officers.
The dogs were destroyed Feb. 29 after state forensics tests confirmed the animals had attacked the woman, said Sheriff's Lt. Jeffrey Ausnow.
The Sueheads' daughter, Tammy Cummins, 42, was found dead in an Auburn home Dec. 20. Friends said she had been despondent over her mother's death. - Art Campos, The Sac Bee, Friday, July 18, 2008
02/13/08: No Criminal Charges
Placer County, CA - Pathology results are still pending in the case of Cora Lee Suehead
who was found fatally mauled about 100 yards from her home in December. Until results can be finalized, officials can't contribute her death to the four pit bull dogs they removed from her property. Police determined that no criminal charges are going to be filed. "Detectives have conducted a thorough investigation" and there’s nothing to indicate that the dogs were known to be vicious.
The body Suehead, 61, a longtime Placer County resident, was found around noon Dec. 4 about 100 yards from her Foresthill home.
"The pathology report is still pending to determine if the dogs contributed to Cora Suehead's death," said Lt. Jeff Ausnow of the Placer County Sheriff's Department. At this time we have determined that no criminal charges are going to be filed."
Suehead's body was found by a family member in an area with heavy shrubbery near a home in the 19000 block of Foresthill Road, said Det. Sgt. Dennis Walsh. She was not dressed for the damp and chilly weather.
Suehead's body had sustained extensive damage caused by animals, said Dena Erwin, spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff's Department.
Four pit bulls were removed from the property by Placer County animal control officers. - Penne Usher, Auburn Journal, Feb. 13, 2008
01/01/08: Still Determining Cause of Death
Placer County, CA - 61-year old Cora Lee Suehead was found mauled to death by animals near her home on December 4th, 2007. It is suspected that her pit bulls are to blame. Four of the pit bulls were removed from her property and underwent DNA sampling. Authorities know the dogs attacked her, but they cannot determine if they attacked her before or after she died.
A veterinarian commented: "At this point, there is nothing to indicate that animals contributed to her death. But there is certainly evidence that animals damaged her body after death." So far, local autopsy results have proven inconclusive. Officials now must send samples to the Department of Justice and toxicology. It may take two months to get the results.
In a related tragedy, 16 days later, 42-year old Tammy Cummins was found dead in her Auburn, California home. Tammy was Cora's daughter. Close friends said Cummins may have been despondent over the death of her mother. A toxicology report on Cummins will not be available for a few weeks. As it stands, causes for both deaths are unknown.