WESTERLY — An autopsy completed Wednesday morning failed to determine the cause of death for Patricia A. Martell, who was found dead Tuesday morning in her fire-ravaged home on Tum-A-Lum Circle.
Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said he was informed by the Office of State Medical Examiners that additional testing would be conducted after the autopsy failed to provide a conclusive answer on the cause of the 59-year-old woman's death. Martell's body, which was badly burned in the fire, was found in a basement bedroom of the 54 Tum-A-Lum Circle home.
The fire was reported Monday afternoon but was too intense for police to enter when they arrived. The fire was put out Monday in about two hours, but structural damage to the house prevented police and other law enforcement authorities from inspecting the premises until Tuesday morning.
Police believe Martell's son, Scott, was captured on a neighbor's security camera entering the home shortly before the fire was reported, then captured again leaving in his car shortly before police and fire authorities arrived. Patricia Martell's vehicle had pulled into her driveway a short time before the fire, the police said.
Police later traced Scott Martell's cell phone and his vehicle was found Monday night in the New Haven area along I-95. Police discovered he had jumped off of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, more commonly known as the "Q" Bridge. He died from his injuries Tuesday.
Lacey said his department had frequently responded to Patricia Martell's home for calls related to her son Scott Martell's well-being. Scott Martell, who was 22, suffered from mental illness, Lacey said.
Patrica Martell, her friends said, was a long-time nurse at Westerly Hospital.
"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden death of Patricia Martell. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends in the aftermath of this tragedy. We have made grief counseling available and encouraged anyone on our team to take advantage of that offering," said Michael O'Farrell, a spokesman for the hospital.
Police are continuing to investigate the case and have obtained warrants to search both Patricia and Scott Martell's respective vehicles, cell phones and Scott Martell's clothing, Lacey said. Results from the additional testing to be conducted by the Office of State Medical Examiners could take several weeks, Lacey said.