Preliminary autopsy results on the body of a Columbus woman, recovered Friday in her SUV in a wooded area, showed injuries consistent with a motor vehicle crash, the Bartholomew County coroner said.
However, foul play has not been ruled out, and an official cause of death for Vonda D. Fivecoat has not been determined because results from toxicology reports are pending, Coroner Allen Smith said Monday, the last day of his term as coroner.
Toxicology results are expected in four to six weeks, he said.
Dr. Thomas Sozio, a forensic pathologist from the Marion County Coroner’s Office, conducted the autopsy with Smith present.
Fivecoat’s vehicle suffered significant front-end damage, he added.
The autopsy showed injuries to the ribs, Smith said. Other injuries on Fivecoat’s body were discovered, but Smith said that, because of the ongoing investigation, he couldn’t reveal details.
A time of death also couldn’t be pinpointed by the autopsy.
“We’re going with the assumption that the day she went missing is the day she passed away,” Smith said.
Fivecoat, 57, of the 2900 block of Beech Drive, was last seen alive at 7 p.m. Dec. 20. Her body was recovered eight days later in a wooded area near Marr and Rocky Ford roads, about 100 yards to the west of the People Trail and Marr Road. The vehicle was covered with snow and difficult to see. Snow-laden branches also obscured the vehicle.
Allen said her body appeared to have been in the vehicle at least a week.
Fivecoat disappeared from her home the same day she called 911 to ask for medical assistance, police reports showed. After her disappearance, she did not initiate any banking transactions and had her cellphone turned off, police said.
Police said Fivecoat suffered from anxiety, depression and paranoia and expressed concerns that she became confused and disoriented.
Fivecoat’s disappearance prompted a statewide Silver Alert by the Indiana State Police.