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Medical condition to blame for death of 49-year-old Midway woman, investigation concludes

A Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office investigation concluded “no foul play” in the suspicious death of a 49-year-old Midway woman this past weekend.

Althea Edna Jones died Sunday morning at her home in Midway. Authorities found her lying on the floor, unresponsive, with blood on and beside her body and signs of possible trauma around her left eye, a Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office report states.

A forensic examination Monday determined the cause of death to be an unspecified medical condition, Sgt. Anglie Hightower, sheriff’s office chief investigator and public information officer, reported.

Jones had known medical issues, but because of her relatively young age, the sheriff’s office decided to open an investigation “as a precaution,” Sgt. Hightower said.

According to the sheriff’s office report, shortly before 8 a.m. Sunday, Deputy Theodore Williams responded to a report of an “unresponsive female” at a residence on Rustling Pines Blvd. in Midway.

The reporting party, 45-year-old Hilliard McDonald of Albany, Ga., met Deputy Williams at the residence door and led him to a “back room,” where Jones lay on the floor, unresponsive.

Blood was smeared on Jones’ nose, and beside her was a “2/3 circle of spotted blood,” the report states.

EMS arrived and pronounced Jones dead at 8 a.m. EMS noticed “a black circle and swelling” around Jones’ left eye.

The report states that after EMS mentioned the possible eye trauma, McDonald said, “I know that y’all would see that and think that I had something to do with this.”

Deputy Williams then called Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office investigator Thomas Perkins, who instructed the deputy to “not allow anyone inside of the house.”

McDonald later told Deputy Williams he had “stayed the night” with Jones and noticed her go to the bathroom around 3:30 a.m. McDonald then reportedly “dozed back off to sleep.”

At 7 a.m., McDonald awoke to find Jones lying “face first on the floor,” he told Deputy Williams. McDonald “immediately called 911,” and the dispatcher instructed him to roll Jones on her back and start chest compressions.

McDonald told Deputy Williams he complied with the dispatcher’s instructions and continued chest compressions until authorities arrived.

Forensic investigators conducted an autopsy on Jones Monday. The cause of death was “medical,” Sgt. Hightower said.

By Brian Dekle