SURRY COUNTY, N.C. -- A preliminary autopsy shows that a 60-year-old woman died from a single gunshot wound to the upper torso, while investigators say she was only feet away from her husband in the front yard of their home Tuesday afternoon.
A bullet, which Sheriff Graham Atkinson says they hope will provide “significant evidentiary value,” was recovered from the victim’s body. The bullet was in great condition at the time.
Deputies believe the victim – identified a 60-year-old See Vue – was with her husband in a rice paddy neighbors say the two constructed almost completely on their own. The husband alerted authorities to his wife’s death around 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.
“He was three feet from her, three, four feet from her,” said Vue’s neighbor, Bryan Marion, who spoke to her husband shortly after her death.
Marion says the husband walked him and his wife through what happened, step by step.
“He hears a gunshot. He doesn't put the two and two together, because she stands up and goes, 'Ow,'” Marion recalled the husband saying. “She steps, makes a couple steps and falls.”
Marion says the husband told him it was mere minutes – maybe less – before she was gone.
“His wife of, how many years, and she dies right there in front of him,” Marion said.
Deputies are entertaining the idea that Vue’s death could have been a result of a stray bullet.
The area surrounding the home is heavily wooded and Marion says they often hear gunshots during hunting season.
“But to hear one this time of year is kind of strange,” he said.
Marion says, years ago, his home was struck by a stray bullet.
“People are not aware of where they're shooting and where the bullets are going,” he said.
Knowing that – had a stray bullet truly been the cause - the victim could have very well been himself or one of his loved ones. Marion says it serves as a reminder that people have to make sure they know was is beyond their target while shooting.
“It's a loss, because they were great, great people,” he said.
The sheriff’s office will now work with the SBI to conduct ballistics on the bullet, which would give them an idea as to what kind of firearm was used. They hope to have those results in coming days.