Document: Summerville woman's death reclassified as homicide

Document: Summerville woman's death reclassified as homicide

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - The death of a Summerville woman in May, 2013 has been reclassified from an accidental death to homicide, according to a DHEC document filed this week.

According to the new document, Dorchester County Coroner Katrina Patton filed the change regarding the manner of death of 37-year-old Tabetha Grooms this week.

Back in June, 2013, then-Dorchester County Coroner Chris Nisbet ruled the death as accidental. The cause of death was listed as anoxic encephalopathy due to blunt force injury to the head from a fall.

Dorchester County deputies responded on April 28, 2013, on a report that an intoxicated woman had fallen into a bath tub. Grooms was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina, where she  died on May 9.

Grooms' husband said she fell while attempting to close the bay windows at the front of the home, and then began to be sick, so he took her to the tub to help her start a shower. He told deputies he he heard her fall moments later, then walked inside the bathroom to find her unconscious in the tub, and called 911.

A small amount of blood was found on the ledge and in the bottom of the bath tub. There was also a pillow in the bath tub under the faucet, according to the incident report. When a deputy asked EMS officials what injury Grooms had suffered to cause her to lose blood, they said they did not find one.

When pressed for an explanation, the deputy said the victim's husband told him Grooms had just started "her cycle."

Nisbet said days after her death that while deputies gave no indications that foul play was suspected, there was "something not right" about her death.

Nearly a month later, Nisbet ruled the death accidental after what he called "a long and extensive" investigation.

Nisbet said the investigation revealed Grooms had fallen down on her own multiple times that day and a few days prior in Florida where officials said she fell down a flight of marble stairs.

The fall in Florida, he said, may have caused an unknown injury that progressively got worse and caused instability that, when mixed with alcohol consumption, caused her to fall multiple times at her home in Summerville.

A Dorchester County Sheriff's Office spokesman says deputies plan to release more information in the case Monday.

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