SAN JOSE -- The city's homicide count moved back a notch Thursday, when police announced that they no longer believe Wednesday's death of a 62-year-old woman found badly injured at her North San Jose apartment Wednesday morning was at the hands of another person.
According to San Jose police spokesman Sgt. Jason Dwyer, the new conclusion about what was initially thought to be the city's 30th slaying came after interviewing witnesses, processing evidence and consulting the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office. He said final autopsy findings won't be available until toxicology reports are completed, which can take weeks.
Dwyer added that a 43-year-old person of interest in the case was interviewed and taken into custody for arrest warrants, but is not facing homicide charges.
Kitty Newman was found in her apartment in a complex on Lundy Avenue near Berryessa Road when an acquaintance went to see her about 10:10 a.m. When she didn't answer the door, the apartment manager was summoned and they found the woman in "medical distress."
Fire paramedics tried to revive her before she was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Police, firefighters and witnesses initially said her injuries suggested she had been assaulted.
"The SJPD Homicide Unit conducted a preliminary investigation, and based on the information we knew at the time ... we treated the case as a homicide due to the fact that the deceased female had visible injuries consistent with some type of physical trauma," wrote Dwyer in a news release.
He added that preliminary information is often subject to change, and because Newman's death was possibly a homicide they announced it was being investigated as such.
Residents of Newman's apartment complex remembered the victim as a likable "free spirit" and found it hard to fathom anyone wanting to hurt her. She lived alone with Bambi, her Papillon Chihuahua mix.
Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.