By Joe Beck
The Manassas Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled that Winchester Star reporter Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh died from a gunshot to her neck.
The finding answers one of the questions that continue to linger over Greenhalgh's death since her body was discovered at her home on Dunvegan Drive in Upperville during a fire on July 9.
Police quickly classified her death as a homicide, but the specific cause remained undisclosed until the medical examiner's office completed its investigation.
No arrests have been made in the case. The remnants of the house Greenhalgh rented on a private driveway have been torn down since the fire.
Greenhalgh's mother, Sara Lee Greenhalgh of Poolesville, Md., described the medical examiner's finding as "devastating" when she saw listed it on a death certificate she received.
"It did come as a surprise," she said Tuesday. "The violence is the huge surprise to me. I first thought she had been burned in the fire. This is so devastating, it's hard to get your head around that such a thing could have happened to her."
Greenhalgh said she was still confident an arrest would be made. Fauquier County Sheriff's Office investigators have been waiting for lab results they say they hope will shed more light on the case. They have provided little information about the case, except to say it remains a high priority with them.
In the meantime, Greenhalgh said her daughter's death has been weighing more heavily on her with the passage of time. As the initial shock has worn off, the pain of the tragedy has grown, she said.
"I was so shocked and numbed when I first heard the news," she said. "I was just operating on automatic. Now I have it in my head, and I understand it has happened, and that's why I feel lots worse because before I couldn't grasp the horror of it."
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or email@example.com