Local News

Durham police join investigation into Duke patient's death

Posted October 14, 2010 5:14 p.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2010 5:46 a.m. EDT

— Durham police joined Duke University police Thursday in investigating a suspicious death at the university hospital last week.

Cheryl Lynn Suber, 30, of Garner, died at the hospital on Oct. 5 of a cardiac arrest. An attending physician was suspicious of the circumstances surrounding her death and asked for a police investigation, according to two search warrants returned Monday.

Suber’s family said police did not tell them about the investigation. They only found out that authorities were looking into her death when they heard about it on WRAL News. Her uncle said the family hoped investigators would have more information to share with the family soon.

Duke police refused to answer any questions on Thursday, saying the investigation is ongoing and citing privacy laws.

According to search warrants carried out by the university police, Suber was hospitalized for a non-life-threatening condition and was seen walking around the hospital and in relatively good health shortly before her death.

Suber's boyfriend, identified as David Bass, visited her room on Oct. 5, and as he was leaving, he told a nurse that someone should check on Suber, the search warrants state. The nurse found Suber unresponsive.

As hospital personnel tried to resuscitate Suber, they found a syringe in her bed, according to the search warrants. The syringe was labeled "saline," but the liquid inside was colored and opaque.

Nurses, physicians and a hospital pharmacist said that they didn't recognize the liquid in the syringe and that it was inconsistent with any medications administered on the unit where Suber was being treated, the search warrant states.