Suspicious Death Ruled Accident, Not Homicide

Published Jan. 10, 2013 by Imperial Beach Patch.

An autopsy conducted by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office found that Corinna West’s death was an accident, not a homicide.

The official cause of death was intoxication due to the combined effects of alcohol, prescription drugs and a hit to the head.

Known to some in the area as a tattoo­clad, small woman often seen walking her big dog near the beach, West lived in a home on the 200 block of Dahlia Avenue.

Around 1 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2012, the 33­year­old was found dead by her father. The two were planning to go to dinner that night but David West stopped by his daughter’s home when she failed to answer her phone, investigators said.

“As a result of the domestic violence reports and the decedent lying in a pool of blood in her bathroom, the death was being treated as suspicious and San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies requested homicide detail to respond to the address to investigate,” stated a report by Medical Examiner Investigator Christopher Burton.

Family members told Burton that West complained of pain they believed was a result of abuse from her boyfriend. 

“Noted on several nearby door frames and walls were small amounts of blood with smearing. These spots appeared consistent with the decedent traveling from a different area in the home and to the bathroom where she collapsed. At no point in the home did I see any signs of a struggle or ransack,” the autopsy report stated.

“There were other minor injuries to include acute and remote abrasions, contusions, and lacerations of the head, torso, and extremities. The scalp laceration was one of several injuries likely to have occurred while the decedent was extremely intoxicated.”

According to a toxicology report, West had a blood alcohol level of 0.36, or about 10 drinks for a person her weight. Multiple anti­anxiety prescription drugs, most notably benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax were also found in her system.

Review of West’s medical records found a history of hypertension, panic disorder, seizures, anxiety, alcohol dependence and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. She may have also suffered from depression, the autopsy stated, but “No notes of suicidal nature were produced.”

West’s autopsy received final approval Dec. 31, 2012.

Her funeral was held Nov. 13 at a church near Old Town. In lieu of flowers, friends were asked that donations be made to Boxer Rescue San Diego. 

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