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Coroner investigates three deaths

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By The Staff

Fayette County’s coroner is continuing to investigate three recent deaths in the county.
Coroner Bruce Bowen said on Sunday that shortly after 9 a.m. on Saturday, 44-year-old Cassandra Pollard was found dead by a friend at the friend’s rural Vandalia home.
Bowen pronounced Pollard dead at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, and said on Tuesday that he has determined that her death “was not of natural causes."
He said that an autopsy was conducted on Monday at St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, but that he needs to receive slides and lab test results before making a determination on Pollard’s cause of death.
At 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Bowen said, a family member found 47-year-old Matthew Austin dead in his pickup truck in the 500 block of West Cumberland Road in St. Elmo.
Bowen said that Austin died from a single gunshot wound, and on Tuesday he said that he had determined that the wound was self-inflicted.
Bowen announced that ruling after an autopsy was conducted on Monday at St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital.
At about 4 a.m. on Tuesday, Bowen was called to the 73½-mile marker of Interstate 70 for a report of a fatality in a single-vehicle accident.
He said that Royce Horton of Highlandville, Mo., was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident at 4:33 a.m.
Bowen said that Horton was driving a tractor-trailer in the westbound lanes of I-70 when she lost control of the vehicle and it rolled over multiple times before coming to rest in the median.
He said that Horton, who was ejected from the vehicle, died instantly from injuries sustained in the wreck.
The St. Elmo and Brownstown fire departments responded to that accident.