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Local News

February 22, 2013

Police: Body in fire was suicide

State police have identified a local woman as one of two bodies found Tuesday in a Walton house destroyed by fire.

Debra S. Sundstrom, 48, of 1884 River Road in Walton, was identified during an autopsy at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, state police said Thursday in a late-afternoon press release.

The autopsy also determined that Sundstrom’s death was a suicide, the result of a gunshot to the head, the media release said.

A Debra S. Sundstrom was arrested less than a month ago by Walton police and charged with five counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree. Neither Walton police nor state police investigators were available late Thursday to confirm whether it was the same Debra Sundstrom or describe the nature of the larceny charges.

But two law-enforcement officials — Walton Police Chief Brian Laauser and Delaware County Sheriff’s Investigator Karl Vagts — were at the house Tuesday “pursuant to a criminal investigation,” state police said, when two shots were heard and the fire broke out.

The state police also said Thursday that the fire was the result of arson, but they did not identify the second body, which was found in the basement of the gutted house after the fire was extinguished, or explain the second shot.

The Delaware County Fire Investigation team and the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control have been assisting the state police in the investigation, which is continuing.

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