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Autopsy reveals woman died of strangulation, blunt force trauma

Posted on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 11:59 am

Patricia Collins

Pictured is the house on Powers Bridge Rd. where authorities say a man discovered Patricia Collins’ body Thursday morning, Oct. 18, 2013. Authorities say she was killed. (Staff photo by Josh Peterson)

Patricia Collins, 73, has been identified by County Sheriff Steve Graves as the woman whose body was found Thursday morning at her residence on Powers Bridge Road in Manchester.

Several members of her family arrived from out of town Friday to meet with investigators.

A preliminary autopsy report revealed Friday that she died of strangulation and multiple blunt force traumas to the head, according to Graves.

A friend told authorities he discovered Collins’ body around 7 a.m. Thursday when he stopped by the residence to pick her up to accompany him to Columbia where he was to give a seminar.

The man, whose identity the sheriff has not released, then called 911 and reported finding her body. Deputies arrived, secured the area and called investigators to the scene to collect evidence, according to Graves.

The sheriff stated that investigators are still working to establish a motive for the slaying. He described the victim as a widow and “a very active individual” who lived alone in a quiet neighborhood on Powers Bridge Road about two miles outside the Manchester City Limits.

Investigators spent the day Thursday collecting evidence from the house and surrounding area to be sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for analysis.

They also talked with neighbors to see if they might have observed anything out of the ordinary, and their statements are being reviewed.

Her body was transported to the State Medical Examiner’s office where an autopsy was performed Friday morning.

“Two investigators were there to witness the autopsy,” Sheriff Graves stated, adding that the investigators will be “working long hours to solve this murder.”

He noted that the murder isn’t the first one in the county this year. He said a recent report listed Tennessee as number one in crime in the country and that he guessed “that is spilling down to us.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department at 931-728-3591.

Wayne Thomas may be reached by email at