Tuesday, June 22, 2010

No foul play in deaths of two family members found in car, police say

Pair found dead in car at Walmart

By Clay Carey • THE TENNESSEAN • June 22, 2010

Authorities say there is no evidence of foul play in the deaths of a Nashville woman and her stepfather, both of whom were reported missing last week.

Jamella Finnie, 31, and her stepfather, Craig Townsend, 51, were found dead Sunday morning in Townsend's Kia sedan in the parking lot of a Walmart Neighborhood Market at Edmondson Pike and Old Hickory Boulevard, police said in a news release.

Authorities speculated Sunday that Townsend may have had a medical emergency while he was in the car that caused his death. Finnie, who is mentally ill and suffers from hypoglycemia and seizures, was also found dead in the car. Police said Sunday they believe Finnie, who has to take life-sustaining medicine, couldn't get out of the car because of her physical and mental conditions.

A market employee discovered their bodies inside the car Sunday morning.

Early autopsies revealed no suspicious injuries, Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron said, but "the causes of death are not yet apparent." Investigators are awaiting test results that could shed more light on the deaths.

Missing 4 days
Finnie and Townsend were reported missing Wednesday by Finnie's mother, Gwenn Townsend. The three had gone to another Walmart on Nolensville Road that day. Police said Gwenn Townsend went in to shop while her daughter and husband waited in the car. When she came out of the store, the car was gone.

Police said surveillance video from the second Walmart showed Townsend's car pull into the parking lot around 2:42 p.m. Wednesday, about an hour after it left the first store. The car parked in a spot away from the store's entrance.

Aaron said police are still reviewing footage from the cameras.

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