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Coroner rules death of Cape woman accidental

Friday, July 11, 2003

The 38-year old Cape Girardeau mother paramedics found dead in her home May 31 died of a fractured skull, according to county coroner Mike Hurst.

The autopsy of Penney Lynn Jackson was performed at the Mineral Area Regional Medical Center in Farmington, Mo. A fracture was found on the left rear lobe of her head.

Police say based on witness statements that Jackson likely died about eight hours after her fall. Dying from a skull fracture is not uncommon, but the woman likely would have lived if she had been taken to a hospital, Hurst said.

"It's real easy to die when the blood bleeds into the cavity of the brain and it is allowed to have that much pressure," he said.

At the time of her death, she had a high level of prescription medication in her bloodstream; however, that is not considered a contributing factor to her death, Hurst said.

According to witnesses, Jackson arrived at 416 N. Frederick at shortly before 2 a.m. to attend a friend's party. She fell and hit her head on the ground while walking next to a parked pickup truck, said Det. Brent Steger.

"She was trying to hold onto the bed of the truck, lost her grip and fell on her back, striking her head so hard to where everyone could hear it hit the ground," Steger said.

A nephew drove her home to an apartment at 600 North St. after she regained consciousness and was able to speak.

Jackson lived with her boyfriend, Terry Umfleet, XX. His son, Dakoda, 17, told police she laid down on a couch, woke up once to throw up and then went back to sleep at about 3:30 a.m., Steger said.

The teen found her still sleeping at 9:30 a.m. after she had rolled off the sofa. She was apparently still breathing at that time, Steger said. Her boyfriend moved her into the bedroom afterward. Paramedics were called to the home later in the day after she didn't wake up.

Because her death was ruled an accident, police have closed their investigation, Steger said.

Attempts to reach Jackson's family for comment were unsuccessful.


335-6611, extension 160

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