Coroner: St. Helena woman accidentally drowned

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Coroner: St. Helena woman accidentally drowned

Published Monday, August 27, 2012   |  285 Words  |  

The death of a St. Helena Island woman found in a creek near her home Sunday has been ruled an accidental drowning.

The body of 46-year-old Zenobia Pauline Simmons showed no signs of physical trauma, according to an autopsy by the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Simmons was found dead about two days after she was reported missing by relatives, Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said.

Allen said local authorities still are awaiting results of toxicology tests, which could take weeks.

Simmons was last seen Friday morning at her Vineyard Point Road home and was reported missing that night after relatives could not find or contact her, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities and other volunteers searched by land, air and sea for hours Saturday and Sunday until a family friend spotted her body at about 4:40 p.m. Sunday about 100 feet from the Simmonses' dock.

The Sheriff's Office is investigating Simmons' disappearance, but foul play is not suspected, according to Sgt. Robin McIntosh.

Investigators won't speculate on what happened to Simmons or how she drowned until after receiving the autopsy report, McIntosh said.

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