Death on State Street Little information available as investigation continues

By on October 17, 2012

The death of Alice Werner remains under investigation, and at press time for The Ephrata Review, four days after her body was discovered, very little information was available.

Multiple calls made by The Review to District Attorney Craig Stedman’s office and County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni were not returned prior to the Wednesday morning newspaper deadline.

According to reporting by CBS 21 News, the Lancaster County District Attorney said it does not look like a homicide and the county coroner has indicated that the 48-year-old woman died of asphyxiation, but was not strangled.

Lt. Thomas Shumaker of the Ephrata Police Department reported Monday afternoon that police were in the midst of investigating the discovery of a body in the first block of North State Street. Werner was found dead in her apartment Saturday morning, Oct. 13. Shumaker said the discovery was made after police received a phone call concerning Werner’s well-being. He declined to elaborate on who made that call.

According to Shumaker, Werner lived alone at the residence.

"An autopsy is done (Monday) and we are currently awaiting toxicology results," said Shumaker. He did not speculate on whether or not the cause of death is suspicious.

Curious neighbors did plenty of speculating as they observed a crime unit truck on the scene for at least two days, detective activity for three, and the crime scene tape finally coming down on Tuesday.

"The crime unit truck is there to collect evidence from the scene," Shumaker explained, "so it’s not uncommon for it to be there for a substantial amount of time."

On Tuesday, Ephrata police did ask The Review for footage from its downtown webcam, but the purpose for the request could not be confirmed.

As of Wednesday morning, Werner’s death remained under investigation by Ephrata police and, apparently, by the county DA as well. More INVESTIGATION, page A6

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