Salem couple identified

SALEM – An elderly woman found dead in her Cedar Ridge Drive home Friday has been identified by city police, who said the death is being treated as a homicide based on the investigation to date.

Detective David Talbert identified the victim as Barbara Coe, 72, and said an autopsy has been completed by Summit County Coroner but that the cause of death has not yet been released.

“I can’t go into detail until we get the manner of death (from the coroner),” Talbert said, adding, “We are treating it as a suspicious death or homicide based on some of the things that were found at the scene.”

The victim’s husband was identified as Thomas Coe, 83, a former county attorney who Talbert said served as city law director in the 1960s.

Police initially responded to the apartment of the Coes’ neighbor Friday afternoon for a report of an attempted suicide. Mr. Coe was at the neighbor’s apartment. When officers were trying to convince him to seek medical treatment, Coe told them his wife was upstairs in the Coes’ apartment, where she was found unresponsive in bed.

Chief J.T. Panezott had said Friday night that Mr. Coe was distraught and appeared confused. He was transported to Salem Community Hospital, and Talbert said Saturday evening he believed Coe was still hospitalized, but could not divulge the nature of his illness or his condition.

“I did interview Mr. Coe. He is cooperating,” Talbert said.

No one is in custody, nor have any arrests been made, Talbert confirmed.

He added that, from what police have ascertained thus far, the Coes had secluded themselves and had no contact with family – including their children – in a long while. Talbert said they have lived in their present location over 20 years.

In addition to the city police department, the Columbiana County Coroner and Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation are conducting the investigation. Deputy Coroner Brandi Phillips was contacted Saturday and said no additional information was going to be released at this time, saying she was unsure whether all of the Coes’ family had been notified.