Authorities in Lexington, Ky., are trying to figure out what went wrong last week when an assault victim was incorrectly presumed dead by police. Umi Southworth, 44, was found badly beaten body in bushes in the back yard of her home. Nearly five hours passed before investigators realized Southworth was alive and she received medical attention.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the investigation broke fundamental rules of policing in that the coroner was not immediately contacted to determine whether the victim was dead. The Fayette County coroner was contacted more than two hours after police arrived at the scene. Another two hours later, Ginn discovered Southworth was alive. An ambulance was called at 11:08 p.m., and Southworth was taken to University of Kentucky Hospital, where she died the following afternoon. Lexington police launched an internal investigation, and the city said an outside agency has been asked to review the case.