A preliminary autopsy report on the death of Cynthia Dinwiddie confirms that the Marshfield woman was the victim of homicide.
Webster County Coroner Michael P. Taylor released preliminary autopsy results to The Mail this evening. Dr. Keith Norton was the pathologist on the case.
Noteworthy in the findings was the cause of death: a cardiac event brought on by trauma.
Cynthia Dinwiddie’s husband, Larry Dinwiddie, confessed to killing his wife by striking her repeatedly in the face and head with a hammer and also strangling her. Coroner Taylor reported that all indications are that an attack with an object — reported in Dinwiddie’s confession to be a hammer, though not yet confirmed — brought on probable cardiac arrhythmia, which killed her.
“She had multiple impacts to the head from the object that was used,” the coroner reported. “Some of those would have been to the face and forehead region. There were multiple contusions and lacerations.”
Contusions and lacerations didn’t sound like death blows, and The Mail asked Coroner Taylor about this. He noted, “While she had multiple contusions to the head from an object, those themselves did not cause her death, as far as the blows to the head were not fatal.”
He added, “They didn’t really cause any significant damage below the skin.”
An official autopsy takes approximately four to six weeks before toxicology and other tests can be returned, Taylor noted — unlike what we see on TV.
When asked if he could narrow down the date of her death, Taylor said no. “I wish we could. I’m not sure the Sheriff’s Office has the exact date, either. With her being preserved in the freezer, it’s hard to say.”