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Woman found dead in apartment

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Robert Walter holds Nikki, a Pomeranian that was discovered in the apartment in Shenandoah County where Carla Sue Leonard, 53, was found dead Thursday morning. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Lonnie Sherfey, left, Investigator Paul Taylor, seated, Investigator Tom Shelton and Deputy Wesley Dellinger confer on the deck of the apartment where the body of Carla Sue Leonard, 53, was discovered Thursday morning. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office Investigator P.J. Ryman lifts the crime scene tape to allow a funeral home van to leave the scene. Rich Cooley/Daily

Cause of death unknown

By Preston Knight -- pknight@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- A 53-year-old woman was found dead in her apartment by a neighbor and her landlord Thursday morning, and the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office is now waiting for a cause of death from the Office of the Medical Examiner.

Carla Sue Leonard, of 18880 Old Valley Pike, was dead when deputies arrived just before 9 a.m., Capt. Tom Hodges said. The case has been classified as an unattended death.

Neighbor Robert Walter and the landlord, who would only give his name as Kenny H., found Leonard and contacted police. Walter said the landlord approached him to notify him that he had not seen Leonard for a couple of days, and the two went to her apartment looking for her.

The apartment is one of three above Gail's General Store, just outside of the town limits.

"I looked in the kitchen window, and she was on the floor, hunched over," said Walter, who turned 40 Thursday. "I yelled, 'Carla, Carla, Carla,' but there was no response. ... I figured she was dead when she didn't respond."

The landlord, who is of Thai descent and by his own admission is not easy to understand, repeatedly said "big trouble" as he talked about Leonard and her boyfriend, Dan Lee Ingham II. For about 30 minutes, he was lamenting in an animated fashion about how often he tried to get police to intervene with his tenants because of their apparent substance abuse problems.

Court records and the Sheriff's Office give some insight into the issues the landlord raised. Last week, Leonard and Ingham, 39, both were charged with assault and battery of a family member after an argument turned physical, according to a complaint filed in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Leonard was also charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Ingham has been in the Shenandoah County Jail since the Aug. 14 incident, Hodges said.

Leonard was arrested April 21 and charged with malicious wounding and public drunkenness following a fight with Ingham. A complaint states that she stabbed him with a kitchen knife after an argument about her being drunk became physical. After Ingham called police, Leonard threatened him with a beer bottle, it states. He was treated at the scene, police have said.

On July 11, deputies were again called to the Old Valley Pike address for a reported domestic disturbance. Leonard had accused her boyfriend of assaulting her, but an investigation revealed her injuries were self-inflicted, and she was charged with filing a false police report.

According to General District Court records, Ingham has pending charges of third-offense DWI and failing to comply with a court-ordered alcohol program. He has previous convictions of assault and driving with a revoked license.

Walter said Leonard was living at the apartment at the time he moved in five months ago. He did not know the couple well, but said they were both in and out of jail. Walter last saw Leonard on Tuesday night, he said.

The landlord said police have not done enough to keep the couple, and friends of theirs, off the streets. He said he was in the process of talking with his attorney to have them evicted.

"Big trouble," he said. "I'm serious."

Hodges said the Sheriff's Office was not expected to receive a cause of death on Thursday.

1 Comment

From the article, it appears that police did their job, the ones who dropped the ball are the courts and prosecutors.

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