Local News

Police don't suspect foul play in App State student's death

Posted September 15, 2014

— Police say that they have not found anything yet to suggest that foul play was involved in the death of Appalachian State University freshman whose body was found near campus Saturday.

Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford said in a statement Monday afternoon that a letter that appears to have been written by Anna Marie Smith was found with her body in a heavily wooded area off campus, and despite belief that she might have been the victim of a homicide, detectives have no information leading them to believe she was.

"In fact, there are factors to indicate that Ms. Smith was intent on harming herself," Crawford said.

Investigators, however, are looking at all possibilities surrounding the 18-year-old's death, as they would in any investigation, Crawford said.

He declined to talk about what was in the letter or to provide any other details of the investigation, saying only that the new details were aimed at easing anxiety of Boone residents and the Appalachian State community.

Detectives hope preliminary findings of an autopsy, that was scheduled Monday, will shed some light on what happened to her.

"We have much to do in this case and must look at all possibilities," Crawford said. "Therefore, we cannot prematurely arrive at any conclusions."

Smith's roommate reported her missing Sept. 3, and Appalachian State Police Chief Gunther Doerr said investigators looked into Smith's report of an assault at the beginning of their investigation into her disappearance.

They learned Smith had attended an off-campus gathering of about a half-dozen students in late August, but there was no evidence of a sexual attack, he said.

Authorities did establish that something had left Smith in an "anguished" state, Doerr said, but he declined to be more specific.

Her remains were found Saturday morning off of Poplar Grove Road at the west end of the town, along with her driver's license and student identification card.

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday night in Archdale, near Smith's hometown of High Point, for a candlelight vigil in her honor

Sunflowers were everywhere at the vigil. Smith had a tattoo of a sunflower on her chest, and friends said it came to symbolize her personality and life.

"Although we may have lost a beautiful angel at such a young age, God has a plan for everything, and I strongly believe everything happens for a reason," friend Kinzi Hilton said during the vigil.


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  • 678devilish Sep 16, 2014

    Its so tragic that she chose to take her own life. Yet choosing suicide did not solve anything. I hope before she did it, she thought about her parents and family in what it would do to them. I suspect she did not care. She was so bent on taking her life. She should have sought help. But did not. Keep the parents and family in prayers. God is with you all in the days to come. There will be healing and peace. My condolences.

  • puzzled Sep 16, 2014

    As I say a prayer for this hurting family I will include your name also. I know you are hurting also! Find peace dear one!

  • euimport1 Sep 16, 2014

    so move on

  • SAY 'WHAT" ONE MORE TIME! Sep 16, 2014

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    Nothing funny about it. It wasn't long ago that this girl was living and did need help. You ask "why do WE care about this one"? We care because her life is no less valuable than yours or anyone else's and just because she decided (presumably) a terrible fate for herself it doesn't make her any less deserving of compassion. If yours is a finite resource, I pity you. I have plenty for her and anyone else that needs it. Good day

  • Hecate Sep 16, 2014

    My prayers go out to her family. I hope they can find some peace in the midst of all of this turmoil.

  • Tom Smith Sep 16, 2014
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    you guys are too funny. yes, my compassion is a finite resource saved for the living and those who truly need it. not some one who made a poor life choice, or series of choices, made a plan, executed it and came up with the end result she desired. and your suggestion that I seek therapy is poorly aimed and a bit late (it should have been directed to some one else a week ago: see article).

  • NC Reader Sep 16, 2014

    Please get some therapy for your problems.

  • SAY 'WHAT" ONE MORE TIME! Sep 16, 2014

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    Well, because she was missing for some time, and while it's looking like she killed herself the investigation is ongoing. Furthermore, compassionate people do care when someone "offs themselves" because she was a human being with a mother, father, friends. It's obvious you've never felt true hopelessness. I hope you never do because due to the shallow nature of your post I'm confident you lack the depth to get through it. What a waste of a post you have there. Congrats

  • Grand Union Sep 16, 2014

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    Sadly Depression does not require a rational reason. My Father and elder brother both suffered from it and it cost my brother his life. Often drink and drug use is simply self medication, not really the cause.

  • wlbbjb Sep 16, 2014

    This should be a reminder to all of us to reach out when we see someone who appears to be without friends. Sometimes a smile or hello from a stranger is enough to let us know we're not alone in the world. May God be with her family at this heartbreaking time.