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Greenhalgh’s death ruled a homicide

Winchester Star reporter Sarah Greenhalgh died of a gunshot wound to the neck, according to an autopsy report.

Nancy Bull, manager of the Northern District Chief Medical Examiner's Office, confirmed the cause and manner of Greenhalgh's death by phone on Tuesday.
Firefighters found the body of Greenhalgh, 48, after extinguishing a July 9 fire at her rental home on Dunvegan Drive in Upperville.

The same day, Fauquier Lt. James Hartman announced that sheriff's deputies were investigating Greenhalgh's death as a homicide.

But until now, police have not said how she died.

Hartman had little to add to Bull's statement, other than to say Greenhalgh was not restrained.

"We're still gathering evidence and working with the lab and the Department of Forensic Science to analyze the evidence," Hartman said.

Radio traffic during the July 9 fire indicated that firefighters did not find Greenhalgh in an initial sweep of the house, discovering her body in the bedroom after the fire had been extinguished.

Sheriff's deputies continue to investigate Greenhalgh's death, enlisting the aid of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Virginia State Police.

A team of FBI detectives swept the area around Greenhalgh's home with metal detectors. Deputies handed out fliers to motorists on adjacent John S. Mosby Highway, looking for anyone with information about Greenhalgh's death.

Greenhalgh's last Facebook post, mentioning a "bats--- crazy boy," led sheriff's deputies to search a Gainesville apartment at 7500 Equinox Landing Court.

The apartment's occupant, John Sheldon Kearns, had been seen by neighbors loudly arguing with Greenhalgh the night before her death.

Several media outlets named Kearns as a suspect or person of interest. Kearns had been arrested in 2011 for assault and battery for a road rage incident on Interstate 66.

A divorce complaint filed in Prince William County alleged several instances of violent, unstable behavior from Kearns toward his ex-wife.

However, Fauquier deputies have yet to announce the names of anyone involved with Greenhalgh's death.

The Fauquier sheriff's offices urges anyone with information about Greenhalgh's death to call Crime Solvers at (540) 349-1000 or the criminal investigations division at (540) 422-8650. Callers can remain anonymous.

Email this reporter: mgrandstaff@timespapers.com.
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