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State Medical Examiner’s Office Declares Death of Anna Marie Smith, ASU Student Missing in September, a Suicide

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 6, 2014. The state medical examiner’s office ruled the death of Anna Marie Smith, the Appalachian State University student from High Point who went missing for more than a week before her body was found near the campus, a suicide by hanging.

The report was obtained on Thursday.


Smith was found in a wooded hillside off of campus and 100 feet from Poplar Grove Road in an advanced state of decomposition on Sept. 13, according to the report, which also stated that a “blue flat strap [was tied] around neck and tied to tree limb three to four feet from body.”

A toxicology report released in late October noted that no drugs were found in her system. The local medical examiner’s report noted that Smith did have a history of depression.

Franklin Pippen, a medical examiner in Watauga County, wrote cause of death pending in his report of the autopsy, but the state medical examiner’s review recently declared Smith’s death a suicide.

Smith’s disappearance on Sept. 2 sparked alarm among the community as the search continued far and wide into the High Country until her body was found about 300 yards from Mountaineer Hall, which was the last place she was seen.

Smith’s family said that she was distraught days leading up to her disappearance, which occurred around the same time of a later-deemed falsified report of a sexual assault.

Two days after her body was found, Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford wrote a lengthy statement about her death because he said he was “greatly concerned about the state of anxiety that the citizens of Boone and the students and faculty find themselves in.”

Reluctant to release information because the investigation was still ongoing, Crawford said at the time that while people in the community were under the impression of Smith’s case being a homicide, he noted that none of the evidence pointed in that direction.

Two days after Crawford’s statement, the Boone Police Department released preliminary autopsy results that noted “indications of asphyxia” were present.

The state medical examiner’s review of the report was dated Oct. 28.

For previous stories regarding her death, click here.

The vicinity of where Smith’s body was found. Authorities said she was found 100 feet off of Poplar Grove Road.
The vicinity of where Smith’s body was found. Authorities said she was found 100 feet off of Poplar Grove Road.