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Carina Saunders death ruled 'violent' by Oklahoma medical examiner's office

The state medical examiner says Carina Saunders died a “violent” death, but did not release details about the condition of the young woman's remains or how she died. An autopsy report could be ready within two weeks.
BY ANDREW KNITTLE Published: February 28, 2012

The state medical examiner Monday released the cause of death for Carina Saunders as “violent death,” but gave no details of how the young woman died.

Spokeswoman Amy Elliott said an autopsy report, which would include details about the condition of Saunders' body, “may be completed in the next two weeks.”

Saunders, 19, was found Oct. 13, dismembered and stuffed inside a duffel bag behind a grocery store at NW 23 and Rockwell.

Elliott said the manner of death for Saunders is listed as homicide and the cause as “violent death.”

Bethany Police Chief Phil Cole said the homicide investigation is ongoing and he expects “to bring all involved to justice.”

Several people have been identified with connections to the case, but nobody has been charged with murder.

Cole said it is the biggest case in his 22 years in Bethany.

“There's just been so many people to interview to get the truth ... to try and separate what they've heard with what really happened,” Cole said. “But I think, and this is the truth, that we have a lot of information that's going to wrap this up.”

Informants are key

A confidential witness told police that Jimmy Lee Massey, 33, kidnapped her and forced her to watch the torture and slaying of Saunders.

Massey is being held in the Oklahoma County jail on unrelated charges. He has been implicated in drug- and human-trafficking rings by informants.

Cole described Massey as “absolutely a suspect,” but said investigators continue to work the case.

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