Authorities rule Tahoma woman’s death a suicide |

Authorities rule Tahoma woman’s death a suicide

Kara Fox
Sierra Sun

El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office detectives ruled the death of a Tahoma woman as a suicide this week. An exact cause of death is pending based on autopsy results.

Sheila Ann Hanley, 50, died inside her home Aug. 30 from a gunshot wound. Deputies had originally called the death suspicious, and they couldn’t decide if it was a suicide or homicide.

“In my opinion, there was nothing suspicious about it,” said El Dorado County Detective Michael Lensing. “There is no indication that it was a homicide. There was no foul play.”

Lensing said investigators had originally called the death suspicious based on Hanley’s husband’s statements and that he did not call the sheriff’s office until the morning after Hanley had shot herself.

“The husband said he did not know she had shot herself,” Lensing said. “His explanation did not seem plausible to us, but people act differently in different situations. It was simply a man that was distraught.”

Lensing said he attended Hanley’s autopsy in Reno and that there was “evidence that no one else could have pulled the trigger.” It was a self-inflicted gunshot wound that caused massive cranial trauma, he said.

Detective Larry Olsen, who is the El Dorado County coroner in Tahoe, said the investigation was two-tiered, with a criminal investigation and a coroner’s investigation being conducted simultaneously. He said although the criminal investigation is complete, he still has not determined the exact cause of death because he is waiting for the autopsy results.

“From the coroner’s end, until I get an autopsy, I can’t make a ruling (on the cause of death),” Olsen said.

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