Coroner: Summerville woman's death ruled accidental

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - The Dorchester County Coroner's Office has ruled the death of a Summerville woman as an accident following an investigation.

Coroner Chris Nisbet says Tabetha Grooms cause of death was anoxic encephalopathy due to blunt force injury to head due to fall.

Grooms was found at a home on West Turner Street on April 28 after the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office received reports of an intoxicated person fainting in the bath tub.

"This investigation by my office, and the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office was long and extensive due to the nature of the death and the circumstances involved in the death," Nisbet said in a release on Monday.

Nisbet said the investigation revealed that Grooms had fallen down on her own multiple times on April 28, and a few days prior in Florida where officials say she fell down a flight of marble stairs.

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

Nisbet says no medical treatment was immediately sought after Grooms' fall in Florida.

The responding deputy said Grooms was not moving or speaking, and was apparently being supplied oxygen. The deputy first spoke with the victim's husband, who said Grooms had been drinking since "the night before."

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

The woman was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina, where she later died on May 9.

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."

According to the report, two older family members and a young child who lived at the home were also present.

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