Local News

Barton College Professor Apparently Killed Herself, New Report Says

Posted June 8, 2005

— A Barton College art professor found dead in her home in late November apparently committed suicide, according to the medical examiner's office.

Wilson police found the body of Paula Patterson inside her home art studio on West Nash Street after she did not show up for work.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Wilson Police Department said that the medical examiner's report indicated that Patterson's "immediate cause of death was asphyxia by airway exclusion in a chest-type freezer."

Early in the investigation, authorities said Patterson's cause of death had been suffocation, but would not speculate whether her death was a murder or suicide. Investigators did, however, find notes around the home that suggested Patterson had been planning her own memorial service.

"We found several notes throughout the residence and art studio that had requests on there -- types of songs to be played at a memorial service, things of that nature," said Sgt. Keith Pendergrass of the Wilson Police Department in December.

Pendergrass said the investigation has now been closed.


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