Salem police investigate death of elderly woman

SALEM – An elderly woman was found dead in the bed of her Cedar Ridge Drive apartment on Friday by police responding to a report that her husband had tried to commit suicide.

Police Chief J.T. Panezott said the matter remains under investigation, and the Columbiana County Coroner and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation were called in to assist since he is unsure at this point what exactly they are dealing with.

“We treat everything as a homicide until proven otherwise,” he told WKBN 27 Firstnews, the newspaper’s news partner, adding they obviously do this at the initial stages of every questionable-death investigation.

Panezott said a third party called the police department about 4:30 p.m. to report there was an attempted suicide at 1264 Cedar Ridge Drive. Officer Richard Miller was first on the scene and found the object of the call – an man believed to be in his early 80s- in a neighbor’s apartment.

The elderly man appeared to be uninjured, and while police were in the process of trying to convince him to seek medical treatment he told them his wife was upstairs. The woman was found in bed and unresponsive.

“Once they determined she was dead they sealed off the house and called Detective (Dave) Talbert,” Panezott said of his officers.

The identity of the elderly man, who was taken to Salem Community Hospital, and his wife were not revealed. Panezott said the man was distraught and appeared to be confused.

Meanwhile, his wife’s body was taken to the Summit County Coroner’s Office, where an autopsy will be performed.

Investigators were still at the scene until after 10 p.m.