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Police identify woman found dead in Durham lake

Posted December 27, 2011

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— Police on Tuesday said a body found Friday in Parkwood Lake belonged to a woman who has been missing for almost three weeks.

Margaret A. Lewis, 58, of Revere Road, was last seen Dec. 9. Her car was found abandoned near the lake, off Pelham Road, three days later.

No cause of death was released, but police said they don't suspect foul play, based on preliminary autopsy results.

The widow, who neighbors say lived alone, moved to the Parkwood neighborhood last summer.

Almost nine years ago, one of Lewis' friends was found dead in Falls Lake. Janine Sutphen, a cellist with the Durham Symphony, was suffocated, and her body wrapped in tarp and chains and dumped in the lake, authorities said.

Lewis testified against Sutphen's husband, Robert Petrick, during his 2005 murder trial. He was convicted and is now serving a life sentence in prison.

Lewis' funeral is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday.

18 Comments

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  • Rebelyell55 Dec 28, 2011

    Something is missing here....
    ctnorris2011
    December 28, 2011 8:17 a.m.
    .....Yep, but there will be more, or maybe not since the police don't suspect or stated there is no fowl play.

  • not my real name Dec 28, 2011

    what a shame.

  • FE Dec 28, 2011

    The News & Observer is reporting, from reliable sources, that the death is an apparent suicide with health issues a determining factor.

    So much for the sleuthing of dukefan245 ("During her stroll Cardiac arrest,seizure,or stroke occured and she fell in.") and the ridiculous association connections to a prior murder made by the WRAL article.

  • ctnorris2011 Dec 28, 2011

    Something is missing here....

  • eccgc Dec 27, 2011

    WRAL should be ashamed for implying the two deaths are connected. Poor reporting.
    boneymaroney13

    I beg to differ from you! WRAL merely stated a fact and left any conclusion one might make to oneself.

  • boneymaroney13 Dec 27, 2011

    WRAL should be ashamed for implying the two deaths are connected. Poor reporting.

  • Zelda Dec 27, 2011

    Next of kin are notified before the identification becomes public. Her family was motivated for religious reasons to hold her funeral as quickly as possible and the funeral home gave them the option of an obituary prior to official police comment.

  • lynne0312 Dec 27, 2011

    "During her stroll Cardiac arrest,seizure,or stroke occured and she fell in"
    That sounds pretty far fetched to me. If she had a heart attack or something, she would have been found on land, not in the lake.
    I find it odd that the obit was posted before police made any comments about this at all, even just to confirm that it was her.

  • dukefan245 Dec 27, 2011

    There is no connection to the murder trial she testified in, you people are rumor crazy. Her car was parked at the lake, meaning she probably wanted to take a walk around the lake. There is a park at that end of the lake. During her stroll Cardiac arrest,seizure,or stroke occured and she fell in. Body's don't always float, she could have been covered by some of the brush along the edges or floated down towards the large dam. Its a tragedy, my heart and prayers go to the family.

  • lynne0312 Dec 27, 2011

    I don't understand how they don't suspect foul play. An abandoned car and woman found in a lake? Plus the Hope Mills woman, same type of thing just weeks ago.
    I think they are just reporting the connection to Sutphen because it's an eery coincidence that her friend was also found in a lake, isn't it?
    By the way, N&O reported the Sutphen connection first....days ago.

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