Virginia Phillips Kelly's neighbors in Raleigh said she left her house one weekend and never came back. They said no one knew she had died until they read her obituary in the newspaper.
"We suspected something was going on when the police brought her car back," neighbor Ben Barwick said. "Nobody really knows what happened."
Investigators are not sure about the circumstances of Kelly's death. Franklin County Sheriff Jerry Jones said his detectives were called to a rural home on Feb. 6. They found Kelly lying on the floor unconscious.
According to a report, an acquaintance of Kelly's told detectives both of them had been doing cocaine all night. Detectives do not know if her death was an accident or something more. Authorities found that Kelly's body was bruised and had a ruptured spleen.
"Yes, I think there's some suspicious circumstances around this. That is the reason that this investigation is still open and the reason we're still seeking out information," Jones said.
The sheriff's office will not have a cause of death until the medical examiner's report is complete. It may take weeks, even months, to process.
WRAL has learned that Kelly's daughter is in the custody of her ex-husband, the girl's father. The State Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. The state Medical Examiner's Office would not comment on the case.
Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.