Police investigated the death of a badly bruised woman, who died the morning after emergency workers were called to check on her, but have ruled out a homicide based on autopsy results.
Bonnie Lindell, 52, was found dead Friday morning in a home in Franklin Mobile Home Park, off Old U.S. 31 south of Franklin, and preliminary autopsy results showed she was not a victim of homicide.
Investigators initially had looked into the possibility of foul play because they came to her home and found her with swollen eyes and bruises about 12 hours before her death, Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox said.
Cox said Lindell had medical issues, but declined to give details on any conditions. Lindell refused to go to the hospital and get treatment, Cox said. Police, medics and family members couldn’t persuade her to get help, he said.
“Unfortunately, she didn’t want help,” he said. “It’s sad for everybody. It’s sad for her family and sad for the law enforcement officers, who were really disturbed by this case. Even her family couldn’t talk her into going to the hospital.”
The cause of death has not yet been determined, Johnson County Coroner Craig Lutz said. The coroner’s office is awaiting the results of lab tests to determine exactly how she died.
At least five detectives began investigating the death until preliminary autopsy results showed that Lindell did not die as a result of homicide. Cox declined to give details on what exactly the autopsy showed. Police no longer are investigating, but could again after the final autopsy results come back in a few weeks, Cox said. The sheriff’s office would assign more detectives to the case again if the official autopsy results showed anything suspicious or out of the ordinary, Cox said.
Lindell lived in the home at Lot 31 in the mobile home community and had been there with a family member and two friends, who called police to check on her at about 11 p.m. Thursday, Cox said.
Sheriff’s deputies went to the home, where the men told police that Lindell had been drinking and fell on a coffee table.
Officers were skeptical because of the extent of her injuries, Cox said. She had bruises on her face and arm, a deformed elbow and eyes that were swollen shut.
“Her injuries just weren’t consistent with falling on a table,” he said. “That wasn’t clicking with us.”
Lindell, who was in bed, told emergency workers she was tired and just wanted to sleep, according to a Johnson County Sheriff’s Office release. She refused treatment, telling them she didn’t want to be touched and wanted to be left alone.
They called a supervisor, who said they couldn’t coerce her to go to the hospital if she refused, Cox said.
“She didn’t want help,” he said. “Between law enforcement and medical personnel, there was nothing we could do. If you’re conscious and alert and in possession of your faculties and don’t want to go, there’s not much law enforcement can do.”
Lindell was found dead at about 10:45 a.m. Friday, about 12 hours after she refused treatment, Cox said.
The deputies who checked on her the night before volunteered to help however they could, Cox said. They wished they could have done more to help her.
Cox said that it wasn’t clear whether getting medical treatment could have prevented Lindell’s death.
But the sheriff’s office plans to review whether there would be any way under state law to coerce seriously ill people to get medical treatment if they refuse, Cox said.
“I don’t like it,” he said. “The whole thing is really sad, and the road officers are really upset with this one.”