The death of Dianna Lynne Swaner, 63, has been officially ruled a homicide.
The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Swaner died from blunt force trauma, according to a Wednesday email from Jennifer Smith, the office’s northern district administrator in Manassas. Swaner’s 18-year-old grandson is accused of beating her to death in her Quail Run Lane home in Hayfield during a fit of rage on Aug. 28.
The family of Dustin Austin Rowe said last week that he had a long history of mental illness that included angry outbursts. Rowe was charged in April with assaulting Swaner. He had been staying in a trailer on Swaner’s property for a few days before the killing, quarantining after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Rowe was removed from the Winchester Rescue Mission on Aug. 24 after threatening staff, according to the Rev. Brandan Thomas, mission director. After an eight-hour Emergency Custody Order he had been under at Winchester Medical Center expired, Rowe moved into the trailer. Thomas said last week that the mission and the Department of Social Services, which had custody of Rowe, were working on a plan to return him to the mission after he finished his quarantine.
Rowe, charged with second-degree murder, was being held without bond at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center on Wednesday night. He is due in Frederick/Winchester Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 29.
Swaner, a mother of two, was a retired sheet metal worker. Relatives described her as generous and kind. They said she had tried to help Rowe, who had been in DSS custody since the death of his mother in 2015, but she was afraid of him due to his temper.