Police Rule Out Murder In Suspicious Death In Hampton Bays

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Detectives are continuing to investigate the death of a Massachusetts woman whose naked and bloody body was found on a sidewalk outside a Hampton Bays apartment complex on Friday morning.

The Suffolk County Police Department Homicide Squad has taken the lead on the investigation although representatives from both the county and Southampton Town Police have said the death is not believed to be a murder. Neither department has ruled out suicide or an accident, however.

On Monday night, Town Police identified the woman as Marion Royston of Oxford, Massachusetts. Police did not give an age; an online resource lists her age as 45.

Following a nine-hour investigation of the scene, which began at around 6 a.m. and closed the Arlington Shores Estates apartment complex and part of the adjacent street, Penny Lane, for most of the day, the death was determined to be non-criminal, according to a public information officer with the Suffolk County Police. Town Police Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa said all the responding agencies, including the county police and the Suffolk County medical examiner’s office, must finish assessing the evidence before an official determination will be made public.

A suspicious, non-criminal death often is the classification given to suicides and drug overdoses, according to the Suffolk County Police spokesperson, declining to offer further details.

The delay in the release of information regarding the woman’s death prompted many neighbors of the apartment complex to speculate that she was murdered—though authorities have since said that does not appear to be the case.

Patrick McGregor, the apartment building’s manager, said he was alerted of the death at 5:55 a.m. Friday by a tenant who knocked on his door. He said the individual pointed out the woman’s body, which was lying face-down and near the foot of a set of stairs leading to the balcony that wraps around the second floor of the complex. The tenant called 911 before alerting the property manager.

Mr. McGregor said he checked on Ms. Royston and found that she was unresponsive and bleeding from a gash in her head. He then went back into his apartment and grabbed a large towel to cover her up until an ambulance arrived.

EMS personnel pronounced her dead on the scene.

“It was a horrific situation,” Mr. McGregor said. “It wasn’t too nice seeing that at 6 o’clock in the morning.”

The woman was not staying at the complex and none of the tenants knew her, according to Mr. McGregor, who went door-to-door informing residents of what had happened after police arrived. Many of the residents in the building are medical students who work at Southampton Hospital, Mr. McGregor said. Two residents who were at the complex on Tuesday afternoon declined to comment on Friday’s events.

Neighbors who live along Penny Lane saw police locking down the area Friday morning, but knew little of the incident beyond speculation. Multiple neighbors, who declined to give their names, said they were concerned about the woman’s death because so little information had been disseminated by the police department. Others, however, said they were not concerned.

Juan Mejias, who lives on Penny Lane and a few blocks north of Arlington Shores with his mother, said he thinks the death is most likely an isolated incident. He added that he did not hear about it until the following day.

“I heard about it the day after from a friend in Southampton,” Mr. Mejias said. “I went to his house and he said, ‘Did you hear what happened on your street?’”

One neighbor, who only identified herself as Carol, said the death has left her uneasy, adding that the fact that Ms. Royston was found naked led her to believe that it was not a suicide.

Another resident, who also declined to disclose her name, said she wishes the police would be more transparent about the investigation.

“They found a dead, naked woman—that’s all I know,” she said. “I wish I knew more because it’s a residential area. I think they should let us know what’s going on.”

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