By Lara Bricker
Hampton Union, Friday, March 26, 2004
[Staff photo by Sarah Zenewicz]
HAMPTON - The circumstances surrounding the death of 85-year-old Alice Keyho remained a mystery Thursday, several days after she was discovered dead by her sister inside the modest blue house they shared on Philbrook Terrace.
Authorities are still calling the case an untimely death as Deputy State Medical Examiner Jennie Duval has not made a ruling on the cause and manner of death, Senior Assistant Attorney General Michael Delaney said Thursday night.
The autopsy was completed Wednesday, but it is unknown how long it will take to determine how Keyho died, he said.
"Conducting an untimely death investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of an elderly woman can be an involved process," Delaney said. "All of the authorities participating in that process right now are doing everything they can to ensure that a thorough and complete investigation of this matter is being conducted."
Delaney confirmed that any medical conditions Keyho may have had are part of the state medical examiner's investigation. He said he could not comment on whether she had been sick or had any pre-existing medical problems.
Keyho lived with her sister Helen Garland, 74, at the single-story ranch home at 10 Philbrook Terrace. Garland discovered her sister at 6:40 a.m. Tuesday, and called 911. Delaney would not say where Keyho was found inside the house.
"Based on the initial response, it was apparent to first responders that Mrs. Keyho had sustained some injures," Delaney said Wednesday.
He would not comment on what, if any, injuries were visible.
"Police have continued to investigate the death actively throughout the course of yesterday and today," Delaney said Thursday. "They continue to examine information and interview witnesses in an attempt to learn as much as possible about Mrs. Keyho's activities."
Hampton police made concerted efforts to ensure Garland had somewhere to stay while the investigation was ongoing inside her home, Delaney said.
"Mrs. Garland is now in a safe place with a friend," he said. "Mrs. Garland has cooperated with authorities."
Keyho had relatives in the North Andover, Mass., area, including a brother, who have been contacted and told of her death. She moved from Massachusetts to live with Garland, who was widowed, according to neighbors. Keyho was not married and did not have children, authorities said.
Members of the State Police Major Crime Unit, headed by Sgt. Shawn Skahan, were on the scene from early Tuesday through late Wednesday afternoon searching the house. They were assisted by detectives from State Police Troop A in Epping, as well as Hampton police.
Yellow crime-scene tape remained around the perimeter of the yard of the modest ranch-style home Wednesday. A Hampton police officer stood guard at the front of the property as the crime scene unit worked inside. The tape had been taken down Thursday.
Several investigators clad in white plastic suits were visible inside the open garage Wednesday, taking photographs behind an older model brown Oldsmobile sedan parked there. Small orange cones were placed behind the car Tuesday and remained in place Wednesday. Delaney would not comment on whether Keyho was found in the garage.
The ongoing police presence has neighbors anxious about what happened.
"I just want to know what happened," said Priscilla Fernald, who has lived on the street for 40 years.
The street is part of a very quiet neighborhood made up mostly of retired residents and a few young families.
"I'm petrified until we know exactly what happened," said Nancy Grant, a newer resident on the street who has three children. One of her children was afraid to go to sleep Tuesday night while another had nightmares.
"It's very unsettling," she said.