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Family doubts ruling on daughter's death

Family doubts ruling on daughter's death

Associated Press

CASPERw - Relatives of a college student whose death last March has been ruled a suicide are not satisfied with the investigation Oklahoma police conducted.

The Oklahoma University Police Department concluded that Sarah Tolin, of Casper, killed herself March 7 and has closed the case.

"We are terribly disappointed in the investigation and how it was conducted," said Sarah's father, Don Tolin.

The Oklahoma State Medical Examiner's Office declared on May 23 that she committed suicide by hanging, using a computer cord tied to a doorknob in her off-campus apartment.

"The investigation revealed there was nothing other than a self-inflicted wound," said Kevin Rowland, chief investigator for the medical examiner's office in Oklahoma City.

But family and friends have questioned the finding given other facts in the case.

According to police reports, Tolin and her boyfriend had been arguing on March 6. The boyfriend told police he later went into the bedroom to check on her and found her hanging from the doorknob by a computer cord, police reports say.

Pathologist Dr. Chai S. Choi, who conducted the autopsy, noted injuries to Tolin from hanging; scrapes and bruises on her face, chest, arms, legs and hands; and fine diagonal scars on her wrists.

Choi then wrote: "This 23-year-old white female has a history of prior suicide attempts and self-mutilation," but did not cite a source.

An emergency room doctor also noted bruising on Tolin's back, back of her legs and arms "which may have been evidence of previous domestic assaults," according to an affidavit for a search warrant.

Tolin was renowned as a wrestler who successfully challenged the Wyoming ban on females participating in the sport. She was scheduled to graduate last May with a double major in sociology and history.

Copyright © 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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