Preliminary autopsy results have found no clues to explain why a 40-year-old Bayfield woman was found dead last week along Florida Road, said La Plata County Coroner Jann Smith.
“We didn’t find anything,” Smith said Thursday.
Around 7:15 a.m. Saturday, Durango Police responded to a report of a dead body in the 1600 block of Florida Road, which was later identified as Melissa Bales, who lived with her husband and son in Forest Lakes.
However, since Bales was discovered about 10 to 15 feet off the road, authorities have had little to go on about what caused her to die and why she was in the area, about 18 miles from her home.
Smith said the autopsy showed no signs of Bales being hit by a car or assaulted – she had no physical injuries.
Now, authorities will have to wait for the results of a toxicology and histology (which examines skin tissue) to help determine what may have led to the longtime La Plata County resident’s death.
Durango police previously said they don’t suspect foul play. Authorities previously said Bales may have died of exposure, though she was wearing a down jacket, pants and shoes.
Bales’ family did not know why she was in the area, Smith said.
Durango police did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment Thursday afternoon.
Bales has lived in La Plata County for some time, according to friends. She was owner of Mac Works Consulting in Bayfield, and previously worked for Chimera Communications, Basin Printing & Imaging and the Durango Chamber of Commerce.
Smith said it could take weeks for the final results of the toxicology and histology report.
Smith said it’s not uncommon for investigators to find few clues at the scene or during an autopsy, in which case they must rely on lab results for possible causes of death.