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Published: Friday, 9/18/2009

Body identified as Cindy Sumner; cause of death unknown

The body of a woman found in a North Toledo warehouse Thursday has been identified as Cindy Sumner, the 21-year-old with muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and learning disabilities who disappeared Aug. 6.

The Lucas County Coroner's Office made the determination Friday using dental records, Deputy Coroner Diane Barnett said, and is calling the death a homicide.

Dr. Barnett said the cause of death has not been determined, but she ruled out stabbing, shooting, and strangulation.

She said the forensic examination was made difficult by the fact that the body had lain in water for some time before it was found by Toledo police detectives acting on a tip. She said the body could have been in the abandoned warehouse at 1510 Elm St., for four or five weeks.

"The cause of death is not apparent at this point, but we're treating it as a homicide," she explained. "It's a very suspicious death."

Dr. Barnett said the corner's office planned to perform an anthropology evaluation, which would examine the body's skeletal structure.

The body was clad in a yellow Pennzoil T-shirt and a bathing suit top, Dr. Barnett said. It also wore a necklace.

Family members of Miss Sumner said Friday her necklace was found by police on or nearby the badly decomposed body.

An uncle, Jim Lagrange, said that Miss Sumner's mother, Mary Sumner, gave the necklace to her daughter.

"It was a necklace that Mary herself had given to Cindy," Mr. Lagrange said.

Meanwhile, family members held a vigil Friday evening at Salem Lutheran Church, 1125 North Huron St., that attracted 70 people.

Also Friday, Lucas County Deputy Coroner Cynthia Beisser said preliminary autopsy results indicate Victor Raymond Johnson, 34, died of multiple gunshot wounds, mostly to the torso and right arm.

Dr. Beisser declined to say the number of bullets involved so as to not compromise the police investigation.

Mr. Johnson's bullet-riddled body was located by police in the backyard of an Old West End residence at 2413 Hollywood Ave. Thursday morning. His body was found shortly before the decomposed body of Miss Sumner was located at a different site.

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