The Utah state medical examiner has positively identified the body of a woman found in a canal Wednesday as Nichi Edwards.
But whether her death was the result of a criminal action was still a mystery Thursday. The medical examiner was waiting for more test results from the State Crime Lab and additional information from police before declaring a manner of death, said West Valley Assistant Police Chief Craig Black.
Edwards' body was found in a canal about 75 yards from her home. The discovery came about 20 hours after her house caught fire Tuesday afternoon. After the fire was extinguished, investigators could find no trace of Edwards inside the home and issued an endangered person alert.
A police detective searching the area by helicopter spotted her body late Wednesday morning.
Thursday, the medical examiner discovered burn injuries on Edwards' arms, Black said. Other marks on her body were still being tested to determine if they were also burns or something else, he said.
Black said Edwards' death was still suspicious but had not been elevated to a criminal investigation based on the new information from the medical examiner. He hoped that once toxicology test results were returned, police would be able to declare whether her death was a slaying or something non-criminal.
Investigators have also been asked to look for additional undisclosed evidence, Black said.
Black also declined to say Thursday whether smoke or water was found in Edwards' lungs or whether she was dead before or after she ended up in the water.
Fire investigators have determined the fire in Edwards' house was the result of arson.
Matt Edwards, Nichi's husband, is fully cooperating with police, Black said. All of his accounts about where he was when the fire started at his house and when his wife disappeared have panned out, he said.Although Edwards has retained an attorney, Black said he is not a suspect and that investigators aren't looking for a suspect since they have not even determined that a crime has been committed. Edwards continued Thursday to remain in regular contact with police.
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