The Georgia Bureau of Investigation this afternoon released the autopsy findings in the weekend death of 46-year-old Frances Middleton, whose body was found in a pool of blood in her LaFayette apartment on Saturday, Aug. 23.
The GBI medical examiner determined she died of natural causes, having experienced an esophageal varices resulting from cirrhosis of the liver that caused her to vomit blood.
“One of them ruptured and led to a massive, very quick blood loss,” LaFayette Police Department captain Stacey Meeks said. “That is consistent with all that we saw.”
The scene in the apartment made the case complicated because Middleton struggled for life as she bled, quickly moving from the bedroom into the living room.
“It looks as if she fell onto a table in the living room, breaking it, then crawled through the blood trying to make it to the front door,” Meeks said. “In the process she knocked over some other furnishings in the living room, which initially looked like a sign of a struggle. That is why we considered it a complex scene, because things are not always what they seem.
"It happened quickly — within a few minutes. To me it looked like she was in the bed and had gotten up out of bed starting to vomit blood.
"She tried to get dressed and get to the front door to get help. I don't think it was in her mind to call and she probably couldn't have talked anyways."
Unable to call 911 on her cell phone, Middleton died in a matter of minutes.
At the onset of the investigation officer were not aware that she had a recent incision on her chest for a medically necessary drain port.
Family members, informed of the autopsy findings early Tuesday afternoon, said she had recently expressed concerns about dying from an illness.
Authorities have released Middleton’s apartment to be cleaned, so that family members can retrieve her belongings.
Her relatives mentioned that one of Middleton’s final wishes was for LaFayette Police Department officers to serve as pallbearers at her funeral.
That request will be honored.
Several of the department’s veteran officers will help carry Middleton to her final resting place.