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July 16, 2013

Woman injured in attack moved from ICU, investigation continues

CULLMAN — A Cullman police official reported Monday that the condition of a woman found with severe head injuries in her Carroll Acres home has improved enough to move into a private hospital room.

While new leads in the case have not been developed, investigators returned to UAB Hospital Monday to determine when doctors will allow them to interview the victim Sarah Leathers, 32, of Cullman.

Police reported last Thursday that Leathers was found by her former husband in the bedroom of her Briarwood Drive home with injuries to her head. The woman’s son, who is between 3 and 4 years old, was in the basement of the home and unharmed. The former husband called police and medical personnel to the home, Cullman Assistant Police Chief Craig Green said.

A suspect has not been named in the case. Leathers lives in the home with her parents, who had left earlier Thursday on a vacation. Her former husband found her before 5 p.m. He frequently goes to the home to pick up the child, police reported.

“At this point the victim has been moved to a private room. She is able to talk some, but we are working with her physicians to know when we can interview her,” Green said. “She has made some improvement, we are told, and that’s the good news. But the type of injuries she has are difficult.”

Leathers was semi-conscious and was found with bruises, lacerations and bleeding from her ears. Police later found blood in the dining room and believe whatever happened to Leathers may have started in that area of the home.

Investigators skilled in interviewing children met with the woman’s son last week, but Green said the interview has not yielded new evidence.

Authorities have also collected a computer and cell phone that belong to Leathers, but there are no reports of evidence that would provide clues to how she was injured. Police officers have also been door-to-door in the neighborhood asking residents for information.

“At this point we don’t have any new leads in the case. We don’t see where anything was taken from the home,” Green said.

Police have interviewed Leather’s former husband, who Green said was cooperative. He later visited Leathers at the hospital with other family members.

“We’re hoping that when we can speak to her we can learn something to help us determine what happened,” Green said. “At this time, because of the type of injuries she has, we have worked closely with the doctors to determine when she can be interviewed.”

David Palmer may be contacted at dpalmer@cullmantimes.com or 256-734-2131, ext. 116.

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