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Doubts cast on cause of death for suspect in Pennsylvania killings
December 17, 2014 / 11:23 PM / 3 years ago

Doubts cast on cause of death for suspect in Pennsylvania killings

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Iraq War veteran accused of killing his ex-wife and five of her family members in Pennsylvania did not die of self-inflicted stab wounds as had been previously reported, according to the county coroner overseeing the autopsy.

Police SWAT officers and a K-9 team search for Bradley William Stone, 35, an Iraq war veteran suspected of fatally shooting and stabbing six family members in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania December 16, 2014. REUTERS/Brad Larrison

Bradley William Stone, 35, of Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, was the subject of a two-day manhunt after going on a killing spree that spanned three towns outside Philadelphia. His body was found on Tuesday.

“He was not stabbed, he was not shot, he was not beaten,” said Montgomery County Coroner Joel Hoffman, who has not ruled out a drug overdose as the cause of death.

Investigators say Stone used guns and cutting instruments to kill his ex-wife, her mother, grandmother, sister, 14-year-old niece and sister’s husband.

His ex-wife’s 17-year-old nephew survived the Monday attacks after barricading himself in a bedroom, according to court documents, but was severely wounded.

Shortly after his body was found, the Montgomery County district attorney overseeing the investigation, Risa Vetri Ferman, told reporters that they believed Stone died of self-inflicted cutting wounds.

WPVI, a local television station, quoted a source as saying Stone used a sword to kill himself.

The district attorney’s office did not return a call for comment.

Stone’s body was found in a wooded area in New Hanover Township, about a half mile (0.8 km) from his home in Pennsburg, about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Philadelphia. The body had been there for about 12 hours, but investigators have ruled out hypothermia as a cause of death.

Hoffman said official autopsy results will be completed after toxicology tests are performed. He said he could not discuss whether investigators found pills or alcohol that would be indicative of a drug-related suicide.

“I am aware of what was found at the scene,” Hoffman said. “That’s one of the reasons toxicology is being performed to the extent that it is.”

Editing by Frank McGurty and Mohammad Zargham

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