Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood says the woman found dead along Route 6 just before Christmas 2018 was strangled.
Inita Thomas was found around 7:45 a.m. on December 23. Investigators wanted to know whether she had been walking along Route 6, or if her body had been placed there. In a release Tuesday, the coroner said it’s now known she was placed along the road, but it’s unknown by whom. Investigators still don’t know how long she’d been there.
Harwood, said Thomas had a history of drug use and that her family may have thought her cause of death was an overdose.
After completing an autopsy and toxicology test, he found that an overdose was not the cause.
Harwood ruled Inita Thomas’s death a homicide.
He says there were no immediate signs of trauma when they found the body, but after an autopsy, he found that she suffered strangulation from another person.
“A lot of times when someone endures a strangulation, there’s not physical signs on the outside. So um on our initial impression we didn’t know if any trauma had been sustained to her just based on our visual assessment of her where she was that morning. It wasn’t until that we came back and did our internal exam on autopsy. that we found significant signs that she had been strangled,” Harwood said.
Illinois State Police say it’s still an on-going investigation. We’ll continue to follow this and update you as the story unfolds.