Probe ongoing in reporter’s death

Posted: October 9, 2012

The Winchester Star

Sarah Greenhalgh

UPPERVILLE — Today marks three months in an ongoing investigation into the death of Winchester Star reporter Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh, who was found dead July 9 in her Upperville cottage.

Though many details surrounding her death remain a mystery, an official from the Manassas Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Monday that Greenhalgh died from a gunshot wound to her neck as the result of a homicide.

Lt. James N. Hartman of the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the autopsy report was complete, but declined to comment about what was in it.

“The investigation is still in the evidence-gathering stage,” he said, adding that detectives are just beginning to see some lab results come in.

Police have yet to name any suspects and remain tight-lipped about most of the details in the case.

Greenhalgh, 48, was found dead in her burning home on Dunvegan Drive — a private lane near Buchanan Hall off John Mosby Highway (U.S. 50). The fire was quickly labeled as suspicious and her death a homicide.

Hartman said over the phone Monday that even though an arrest has yet to be made, the case still is very active and remains the department’s top priority.

He would not comment about any other as pect of the case.

Sara Lee Greenhalgh of Poolesville, Md., said she is very hopeful for an arrest in her daughter’s case and believes that in time, Fauquier investigators will get there.

“I really trust in the detectives who are working the case,” she said in an emotional phone interview. “I don’t know much of anything, but I do know they’re working very hard.

“I would like very much for this person to be brought to justice.”

Greenhalgh said she was unwilling to discuss details about her daughter’s case for fear of jeopardizing the investigation. She emphasized the importance of a methodical and accurate investigation.

The grieving mother said she still thinks about Sarah all the time, and can hardly bear to think about what happened to her.

She said she is still an swering condolence letters from family, friends and the community.

“It’s very, very consoling for me and comforting to know I have this much support,” she said.

Nothing is left at the site where Greenhalgh’s cottage once stood. Landlord Ann Macleod tore down the small, red cinderblock residence that Greenhalgh once called home.

“Not only did we tear it down, but we seeded it and had a prayer service after with the family,” she said, adding that she was hoping to bring them peace and closure.

Additionally, Macleod said she didn’t believe too many people would want to rent the cottage after hearing its tragic story, which made the decision not to rebuild easier.

Previously a shell of a cottage that stood charred with black, soot-covered walls, Macleod said the lot now looks as if it is just part of the overgrown landscape.

“I think we’re back the way we always were, a peaceful little farm on Route 50,” she said.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com