Local News

Former Carrboro Fire Chief Found Dead In Cary Hotel

Posted June 28, 2006 3:43 a.m. EDT

— Carrboro's former fire chief, Rodney Murray, was found dead Saturday night in a Cary hotel room, police said Sunday morning.

Police found Murray, 58, at the LaQuinta Inn on

1001 Aerial Center Blvd.

, at about 10:16 p.m.

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    "(Murray's death) was very very sad," Murray's attorney, Butch Williams, told WRAL Sunday evening. "It was as if a family member had been lost, but the question mark is how?"

    It was not immediately clear how Murray had died, or how long he had been in the room, but authorities were investigating the possibility of suicide. His body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill for an autopsy, where the actual cause of death will be determined.

    "No one can say that it was suicide," Williams said. "We're hoping and praying that it comes back natural causes."

    Murray, who resigned from his job in March, had been in and out of jail several times since December for violating a protective order to stay away from his former girlfriend, Gina Ambrosecchia, as well as for citations for driving while impaired.

    In May, he pleaded guilty to six charges stemming from harassing and stalking Ambrosecchia. The two had been in a relationship 10 years.

    Ambrosecchia testified earlier this year that she was scared of his behavior after he allegedly followed her, called her and showed up at her house numerous times without being invited.

    After Murray's guilty plea on May 24, Williams, said the former fire chief had been dealing with some major life changes, having suffered from a heart attack last fall and then losing his girlfriend.

    In exchange for his guilty plea, Murray was sentenced to five years of probation. Williams said on Sunday that Murray had been trying to put his life back together and that he was preparing for an upcoming court date in July.

    A career firefighter with 25 years of service with the Chapel Hill Fire Department and a decade of service with the Carrboro Fire Department, Murray resigned as fire chief in early January after his first arrest on stalking charges. His resignation became effective March 1 after spending several months on medical leave as a result of the heart attack.

    Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton told WRAL on Sunday he was saddened by Murray's death.

    "He was a faithful servant of Chapel Hill and Carrboro for many years," Chilton said. "He made some mistakes in his life, but he did a lot of things right. I considered him a friend, and I will miss him."