JENNA-LEY HARRISON and FRANK TAYLOR
Police said Tuesday afternoon they have ruled out homicide in the case of a 38-year-old woman whose body was found late Monday inside her Lincolnton apartment.
A teen boy found Selina Shephard face down on the floor sometime between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. inside her Mauney Street residence, according to Lincolnton Police Chief Rodney Jordan.
The boy had gone to the residence to play with one of Sheppard’s children, Jordan said.
Police called the State Bureau of Investigation to begin an investigation, but officers told the Times-News on Tuesday that the preliminary conclusion from an autopsy conducted in Winston-Salem was that she probably died from natural causes.
Chief Jordan said investigators didn’t see any evidence at the scene indicating violence but went ahead and treated the investigation as a possible homicide in case something had come back from the autopsy reports confirming that. In addition, the woman’s young age raised eyebrows among officers, suggesting she’d potentially met with foul play.
An exact cause of death has yet to be determined, according to a police department press release. Toxicology reports from the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Chapel Hill are pending, officers said.