Virginia Reporter's Death Ruled a Homicide

Sarah L. Greenhalgh died from a gunshot wound to the neck

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Virginia reporter found dead in her burning home died from a gunshot wound to the neck, authorities announced Tuesday, three months to the day after her death.

    The Winchester Star reports that the Manassas Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled Sarah L. Greenhalgh's death a homicide. Greenhalgh, a reporter for the paper, was found dead in her Upperville home on July 9.

    Police Call N.Va. Reporter's Death Homicide

    [DC] Police Call N.Va. Reporter's Death Homicide
    News4's Shomari Stone speaks with the victim's mother. (Published Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012)

    Authorities were investigating her death as a homicide earlier on, but the official ruling is a new development.

    Fauquier County Sheriff's Office Lt. James N. Hartman said the case remains the department's top priority. Police have yet to name any suspects and remain tight-lipped about most of the details in the case.

    "The investigation is still in the evidence-gathering stage," he said, adding that detectives are just beginning to get some lab results.

    Greenhalgh's mother, Sara Lee Greenhalgh of Poolesville, Md., said she believes an arrest will be made.

    "I really trust in the detectives who are working the case," she said in an emotional phone interview. "I don't know much of anything, but I do know they're working very hard.... I would like very much for this person to be brought to justice."

    The grieving mother said she still thinks about her daughter all the time, and can hardly bear to think about what happened to her. She said she is still answering condolence letters from family, friends and the community.

    "It's very, very consoling for me and comforting to know I have this much support," she said.

    Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh, 48, had covered Frederick County government for the Winchester Star since August 2011. She had worked at other local papers in Fauquier County and had covered local equestrian sports, especially steeplechase racing, as a freelance writer for the Chronicle of the Horse and other publications for more than 20 years.

    On July 9, an off-duty firefighter saw smoke coming from Greenhalgh's Upperville home and called 911.

    Greenhalgh lived alone in the cinderblock home she had rented on a farm for about a year before her death.

    Her landlord, Ann Macleod, said she had been questioned by police but that she had not seen anything suspicious. Macleod lives about a quarter mile from the home.