Police investigate Crown Point woman's death

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Police investigate Crown Point woman's death

Postby Big Dog » Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:13 pm

CROWN POINT | Crown Point police today are questioning a person of interest in the death of a 53-year-old woman found in her apartment on East North Street.

Crown Point Police Chief Keith Hefner would not comment on any evidence that led police to investigate.

The police department contacted the Lake County Sheriff's Department's Crime Scene team to conduct an investigation because the city does not have the manpower or equipment to do the detailed work needed, Hefner said.

An autopsy of the victim is scheduled for Saturday. The woman's name has not been released pending family notification.

6/24/05 NWITIMES
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Police probe C.P. woman's death

Postby Big Dog » Sat Jun 25, 2005 4:06 pm

CROWN POINT | An autopsy today on a 52-year-old woman found dead of blunt force trauma to the face and head should determine if she was also strangled, a Lake County Coroner's spokesman said.

Crown Point Police found Abbie L. Vitoux, 203 E. North St., at 8:15 a.m. Friday in her apartment after her employer reported she didn't show up for work, which was unusual.

As of Friday afternoon, detectives were questioning a person of interest, according to a press release from Crown Point Police Chief Keith Hefner.

The case has been ruled a homicide by the Lake County Coroner's office.

Shortly after 9 a.m. Crown Point police closed the 200 block of East North Street and taped off the area as curious local residents began gathering nearby. The quiet neighborhood, just a block north of the police department and city hall, was quickly transformed into a crime scene with at least 10 city and Lake County Sheriff's police vehicles filling the street.

Police could be seen interviewing neighbors up and down the block in the sweltering heat.

Vitoux's body was carried out of the home at about 10 a.m. behind white sheets held up to shield her from public view.

Initially, Hefner would only say the woman was found dead in her apartment on the home's second floor, one of two residences in the building. The home's owner occupies the other unit.

The victim's age immediately raised questions, he said.

Hefner would not comment on any evidence that led police to investigate.

The police department contacted the Lake County Sheriff's Department's Crime Scene team to conduct an investigation because the city does not have the manpower or equipment to do the detailed work needed, he said.

"This is not a normal situation," he said.

Times staff writer Ruthann Robinson contributed to this report

[EXTRAS]
Homicides in Crown Point since 1970.
1998: A 70-year-old woman was found shot once in the head in her home in the Gentle Manor trailer park on East North Street.
1997: A man stabbed and strangled his former girlfriend, then shot and killed himself.
1989: A real estate agent fatally shot his wife, then himself.
1970: A man shot another man and later got off on a self-defense plea.

nwitimes on Saturday, June 25, 2005
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Police continue death investigation

Postby Big Dog » Sun Jun 26, 2005 12:29 pm

CROWN POINT | The "person of interest" taken into custody after a brutal strangulation death Friday was at the 52-year-old victim's East North Street apartment when police arrived, a source close to the investigation said.

Crown Point police haven't yet identified the suspect, but the source said investigators met with prosecutors Saturday to discuss charges in Abbie L. Vitoux's death.

An autopsy performed Saturday revealed Vitoux was strangled manually and with some type of ligature, Lake County Coroner David Pastrick said.

It appears she also was beaten and did not take the beating passively, Pastrick said.

"Most of the trauma was in the face and neck," he said. "The bruising was nonspecific and by that I mean we can't tell what she was hit with. She also had bruising throughout her legs and arms due to fighting off her attacker."

Pastrick said they are running toxicology tests and testing for any evidence of sexual activity as a routine and not because of any evidence collected at the scene. The death has been ruled a homicide.

Meanwhile, police crime scene tape remained at 203 E. North St. where Vitoux lived in the upstairs apartment. Potted flowers adorn Vitoux's front door and a hanging flower basket and a beach lounger could be seen on the balcony.

When Vitoux didn't show up for work Friday morning, her employer called police because she was usually on time.

Police arrived at the scene shortly before 9 a.m. Officers quickly set up crime scene tape at the house just a block away from the police station.

Pastrick said Vitoux had only been dead a few hours before police found her in her upstairs apartment.

nwitimes on Sunday, June 26, 2005
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