Alton Lee Harper who was 57 yrs old at the time was staying at his daughter's boyfriend's residence at 4817 Crepe Myrtle Street in Battleboro when his daughter heard glass breaking. When she investigated the sound she found an unknown suspect had entered the home and was pointing a gun at her father demanding money. The daughter complied with the robber and gave him an undisclosed amount of money. She reported that her father left the residence and attempted to follow the suspect who had fled on foot. She then called police September 4, 2009 at about 0100 hours.
The victim returned to the residence as police were interviewing his daughter. The report described the victim as being very excited, breathing heavily, and further stated that it was difficult to understand the responses to the officer's questions. The victim was heard to "yell out loudly" and "fall to the floor in the kitchen area of the residence". Resuscitation was initiated by police. Nash County EMS arrived at 0125 hours to find the victim unresponsive with no vital signs. Resuscitation was unsuccessful and death was pronounced at 0229 hours.
Miscommunications followed such that the medical examiner was told that the
information about a burglary and robbery was a "prank" and that no one was around the patient at the time of the collapse. Medical examiner jurisdiction was not taken and the body was released to the funeral home which proceeded with embalming.
A newspaper story on September 5, 2009 reported, "Man suffers fatal heart attack after home invasion "which brought the case to the attention of Regional Medical Examiner's Office in the late evening. The local medical examiner was contacted on September 6 to request that jurisdiction be taken and the body sent to Greenville for autopsy. An autopsy was performed.
Autopsy examination confirmed the presence of significant cardiovascular disease as well as pulmonary disease. No significant injuries were identified. The patient experienced severe cardiovascular stress initiated by the criminal episode in which he witnessed the home invasion by an armed intruder who threatened him and his daughter with
death to accomplish a robbery. His death has been ruled a homicide.
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If you have any information in regards to this robbery that lead to the death of Alton Lee Harper contact Fighting Crime at 252-406-6736.
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