Sheriff: Death of pastor's wife still an active investigation
Posted September 28, 2008 3:44 p.m. EDT
Updated September 29, 2008 10:33 a.m. EDT
Raeford, N.C. — Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said Sunday the death of a former Wake County pastor's wife is still an active investigation, even though the state's associate chief medical examiner ruled it accidental.
Rose Wynn, 53, was found unconscious on the kitchen floor of her Raeford home June 4, and she died later that day at a nearby hospital.
An released Thursday determined her death to be the result of blunt force trauma to the head. She had two fractures across the top and back of her skull, according to the report.
"Although these findings are not typical of an accidental fall, that possibility cannot be excluded," the autopsy report concluded.
In a statement Friday, Associate Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas B. Clark III said it is likely Wynn fell backward onto a brick floor in her home.
"Her death certificate will be amended to show that she died as a result of blunt force injury to the head due (to) a fall, and that the death is accidental," Clark said.
Peterkin said his office and the district attorney's office were not informed of any changes to the ruling.
"In my 20-plus years in law enforcement, I've never seen a medical examiner act this way. We're supposed to be on the same team," Peterkin said. "He is not respecting the fact that we have a death investigation."
Peterkin said he respects the medial examiner's opinion, but that the case is not closed.
"We are not going to close this case based on what the medical examiner's office said," he said.
Wynn had a history of prescription drug abuse and had been treated once for an accidental fall, according to the autopsy report. A toxicology report found elevated levels of the painkiller butalbital in her blood, which could have played a role in any fall, the report concluded.
That factored into the medical examiner's determination, Clark said.
"It is likely that she fell backwards onto a brick floor in her home, producing the two abrasions on the back of her head, which have the same spacing as the bricks, and producing multiple skull fractures," he said.
Authorities have called her husband, Rev. Sam Wynn, a former pastor of Holland's United Methodist Church in Wake County, a person of interest in her death. Rev. Wynn recently became superintendent of the United Methodist Church's Fayetteville district.
The couple's marriage was strained, and they often fought over who would acquire ownership of the home in Raeford after a separation, authorities said in an affidavit to search the Wynn home at 595 E. Lake Ridge Road.
Christopher Wynn, the Wynns' 10-year-old son, heard his parents arguing on the phone on June 3, and James Jackson, Rose Wynn's oldest son, told investigators that his mother called him crying that night to report that Sam Wynn had threatened her, according to the affidavit.
Investigators found a towel and a shoe with stains that appeared to be blood in a June 26 search of the home. They also found a $100,000 life insurance policy on Rose Wynn – her husband was listed as the beneficiary – and a deed to the Raeford house during a search of a house owned by Holland's United Methodist Church where Sam Wynn stayed.