APD elaborates on Bele Chere suicide

In the wake of mounting speculation and chatter about a death in Asheville last Saturday morning (during the Bele Chere festival), today the Asheville Police Department issued a statement responding to “rumors about [the] Aston Park suicide.”

While the department usually doesn’t issue details about suicides, it chose to release some in this case (but not the deceased woman’s name) because of what the release calls “the many rumors regarding this case, which some in the media have chosen to publicize despite the fact that they are completely false.”

Asheville detectives and the medical examiner in the case agree that the woman killed herself, according to the statement.

The full text of the release is below.

— Jon Elliston, managing editor


July 30, 2008
Asheville Police Department
Contact: Chief Bill Hogan
Phone: 828-259-5910
E-mail: whogan@ashevillenc.gov

APD responds to rumors about Aston Park suicide

ASHEVILLE – On the morning of July 26, 2008, Asheville police responded to a call regarding a woman hanging from a tree in Aston Park. Upon examining the scene, the woman’s belongings, and investigating her personal history, detectives determined that she had committed suicide.
The medical examiner agreed with this finding.
The APD does not generally issue media releases on suicides, but did so in this case because it happened in a high-traffic area during Bele Chere weekend. Out of respect for the woman’s family, with whom officers have been in contact, the department has declined further press inquiries into the incident and will continue to do so.
However, the APD is issuing this release to dispel the many rumors regarding this case, which some in the media have chosen to publicize despite the fact that they are completely false.
The facts are that the woman was fully clothed when she was found, and her belongings were at the scene. Her body was not attached to the tree by anything other than the jacket she used to end her life. There was no evidence that she had been attacked, desecrated or that this was in any way a ritualistic death.
“Our hearts go out to her family,” Police Chief Bill Hogan said. “It is very upsetting to us that hurtful inaccuracies are being perpetuated in the media. We simply hope that the victim will be allowed to rest in peace. This release concludes our statements on the case.”

About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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3 thoughts on “APD elaborates on Bele Chere suicide

  1. It’s good to see the APD trying to get ahead of the Asheville rumor mill. Unfortunately, it has only made me more curious about who this person was, and why she decided to kill herself.

  2. Trey

    The rumors were flying over on the AC-T boards.

    I love a good conspiracy theory.

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