You expect that investigators who are called to the home of a dead woman will be able to determine whether or not this person simply died of natural causes or was murdered. In most instances, the clues surrounding a homicide are pretty obvious – gunshot wound, strangulation marks, gashes from a knife. But, it seems that once in a while there is a victim who may look to have passed away from a heart attack or illness for which no one was at fault, when really her death was a crime.
Kathleen McEwan’s body was in the care of morticians at a funeral home in Philadelphia. When the director tried to close her mouth, he discovered resistance and then a ten-inch rope was found lodged in her throat. Upon further inspection, a candy wrapper also was found in the 70-year-old woman’s throat. The initial conclusion that her death was a natural one was quickly rescinded and her case was reclassified as a homicide.
Now, Ms. McEwan’s roommate, Geraldine Cherry, has been charged with murder and other related offenses. Apparently, Ms. Cherry, who is blind, has admitted to a social worker that she “did something” to Kathleen McEwan, who was a woman with special needs. In addition to the items already mentioned, Cherry indicated she shoved a lotion bottle, Chex Mix, and a piece of a diaper down the victim’s throat.
This case further reinforces the difficult job that crime scene investigators and forensic experts have before them every day. There were no signs of foul play. There was no evidence that anyone wished to harm Kathleen McEwan. But still, hidden in the recesses of her throat, were the clues that may land another woman in jail for a significant period of time.