Autopsy on Homicide Victim Canceled after Suspect Found Dead in Jail

MOUNT CARMEL -- A death investigation in Northumberland County began Friday when a woman's body was found in her backyard. Now the man called a person of interest in that death is also dead and the autopsy on the original victim has been canceled.

The Northumberland County coroner says Monday's scheduled autopsy on Penny Mansfield of Mount Carmel was canceled because the suspect in the case is dead.

Robert Thurner, Mansfield's boyfriend, was jailed on a parole violation Friday. He was called a person of interest in the homicide.

Thurner hanged himself in his prison cell Saturday and died Sunday at Geisinger Medical Center near Danville, according to the coroner in Montour County.

Mount Carmel police confirm they planned to charge Thurner with homicide. The chief says there was no indication Thurner was suicidal.

Thurner was being held in Columbia County because Northumberland County's jail burned down in January of 2015.

The coroner in Northumberland County says an examination determined Mansfield died of blunt force trauma, and there is no need to do an autopsy because the man who was going to be charged is dead.

The body was found Friday morning in the yard of the home Mansfield and Thurner shared in Mount Carmel.

Bloomsburg police are investigating the suicide. The police chief says Thurner was away from the general prison population, but he was not on a suicide watch. They will be getting reports from prison workers and checking prison video as their investigation moves forward.


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