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Published: Sunday, 8/17/2003

Woman's death leads to a murder charge

A North Toledo woman died early yesterday after being found unconscious by police Friday night in a central-city neighborhood.

Stephanie Marie Autman, 37, of North Huron Street was pronounced dead at 12:27 a.m. yesterday in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, police and a hospital spokesman said.

Derroncie Lamont McNeal, 25, of 827 Hoag St. was charged with her murder and was being held last night in the Lucas County jail pending arraignment tomorrow in Toledo Municipal Court.

Police were called to Indiana Avenue near Hawley Street, where they found Ms. Autman on the ground. She was taken to the hospital, where she died while undergoing treatment, a police report said.

Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a deputy Lucas County coroner, had not made a ruling on Ms. Autman's death yesterday, but said it appeared that she died from a heart attack.

There were no visible signs of trauma on the body, the police report said.

John Weglian, chief of the special units division of the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office, could not be reached for comment last night.

The report also said police encountered “a large group of people” in the area.

While officers were at the scene, Mr. McNeal called 911 and told the emergency operator that he had injured a woman on Indiana, the police report said.

Police arrested Mr. McNeal at his home. He was booked into the jail just after 3:30 a.m.

A Lucas County sheriff's deputy said Mr. McNeal uses a wheelchair.

Ms. Autman had five children and lived on North Huron for five years, her neighbors said.

“She didn't deserve what happened to her,” said Alisha Roundtree, who lives near Ms. Autman.

Ms. Autman suffered from severe asthma, Ms. Roundtree added.

Another neighbor, who asked not to be identified, called Ms. Autman “a wonderful person who kept to herself.”

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