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Published: Thursday, 5/1/2008

Public asked for assistance in solving Lima killing


LIMA, Ohio - Community leaders yesterday implored the public to come forward with any information they may have about a drive-by shooting that killed a Lima woman Tuesday.

Wendy Westergaard-Westwood, 38, was pronounced dead at 11:43 p.m. in St. Rita's Mercy Medical Center, about an hour after she was shot while driving westbound on West Market Street west of downtown. Police said shots were fired at her Jeep Cherokee about 10:30 p.m., possibly from a blue minivan. Ms. Westergaard-Westwood then lost control of her vehicle, which hit a tree on the north side of West Market and overturned, pinning her underneath.

Lima police Maj. Kevin Martin said police were looking for a passenger in the victim's car, Durelle L. Grant, 19, of Lima, who they believe fled after the crash.

"He's not a suspect in the shooting. We're actually looking for him as a witness," Major Martin said.

He said an autopsy conducted yesterday by the Lucas County Coroner's Office indicated the gunshot, rather than the crash, caused Ms. Westergaard-Westwood's death.

"At this point, we don't believe it was random, but I don't know the exact motive," Major Martin said.

At a joint news conference held at the police station yesterday, Mayor David Berger and other community leaders, including Jason Upthegrove, president of the Lima chapter of the NAACP, asked that anyone with information about the recent violence contact police.

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