Salem police probe death

SALEM – An elderly woman was found dead in the bed of her Cedar Ridge Drive townhouse 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 WYTV 33 News.

Police said on Saturday they had no updates on the situation, and still were not releasing names of the couple.

The elderly man was taken to Salem Community Hospital on Friday. Panezott said the man was distraught and appeared to be confused.

His wife’s body was taken to the Summit County Coroner’s Office, where an autopsy will be performed. Results are not expected until early this week.

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, Apt. D. Officer Richard Miller was first on the scene and found the subject of the call – a 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, police said.

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

Neighbors told 33 News they were shocked. They said they’ve never heard or seen the couple argue or fight.

“They’re really an older couple, and, I know that one or both of them weren’t well,” said one neighbor, who declined to be identified.

While some neighbors are speculating on what might have happened in the home, others are concerned because they still don’t know the details of exactly what happened.

“I just wanted to know certain things. I’d like to know if the old man is responsible or if somebody’s out there going around our neighborhood,” said another neighbor.

Giambroni writes for the Salem News.