Police probe ongoing 10 days after woman’s ‘suspicious’ death
February 13, 2023 By Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Feb. 13, 2023, Woodstock, Ont. – Tight-lipped Woodstock police offering few details beyond the fact their investigation was ongoing Monday into the suspicious Feb. 3 death of a 30-year-old woman whose funeral was held over the weekend.
Investigators say they’re still piecing together the events leading up to the death of Karen Cunningham, a personal support worker, in the early hours of Feb. 3.
“We continue to investigate and gather information,” Woodstock police spokesperson Const. Shaylyn Jackson said Monday. “These investigations are very labour-intensive. They take a lot of time and resources. So we have reallocated resources to this investigation to ensure that we have all hands on deck.”
It was shortly after midnight when Cunningham’s body was discovered inside her Mazda 3 near Mill Street and Sixth Avenue in the city’s southwest end. She was reported missing just one day prior.
Police at the time said the coroner’s office was called to assist with the death investigation and that the body was sent to London for a post-mortem examination.
About five days after Cunningham was found deceased, police deemed her death suspicious. No arrests had been made in the case as of Monday afternoon, Jackson said.
A funeral service for Cunningham was held Saturday at the Brock and Visser Funeral Home. Her father declined comment on Monday.
Cunningham had worked as a personal support care worker at the Woodingford Lodge nursing home in Woodstock since 2019. In her obituary, loved ones described her as “a very special person whose kindness and zest for life will be greatly missed.”
Her family asked for donations to be made to Domestic Abuse Services Oxford (DASO) or Ingamo Homes, both agencies that support women in Oxford County impacted by domestic abuse.
Police say the death is suspicious but haven’t formally ruled it a homicide, Jackson said.
Officers were seen searching the home of Cunningham’s ex-partner on Mill Street, about a block north from where she was located deceased, last week.
Court records show the 40-year-old man was released from custody that same day after he was charged with failing to comply with a release order not to communicate with Cunningham. He also faces three other charges relating to Cunningham, including mischief, assault and failing to comply with a release order.
An online fundraiser organized to support Cunningham’s family had raised nearly $5,500 as of Monday.
“Karen had a bigger than life personality, unmatched energy, and a heart larger than this universe,” her friend Chantel Crandall wrote on the fundraiser page she launched last week.
– London Free Press
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