Crime

Police: Anna Smith ‘intent on harming herself’

Anna Smith, the Appalachian State University freshman whose body was found Saturday near campus, seemed “intent on harming herself,” a Boone Police official said Monday.

The statement from Chief Dana Crawford was the first acknowledgment by the police department that Smith may have committed suicide. Crawford said a note was found next to Smith’s body, but he didn’t detail what Smith may have written.

Two people familiar with the circumstances have told the Observer that police believe Smith asphyxiated herself. An autopsy was conducted Monday, but police said it could be weeks before they get complete results.

In the statement, Crawford said he was trying to dispel any notion that the case was being investigated as a homicide.

“The reason that I am reluctantly releasing this information is because I do not want to give the impression that we are not investigating all possibilities – we are. We will pursue the facts, wherever they may lead, to determine what happened to Anna Smith,” Crawford said.

Smith, 18, had been in a personal crisis in her first weeks of college, a family representative said. She was last seen Sept. 2 when she took Mountaineer SafeRide, a van service that shuttles students after dark, from the Holmes Convocation Center. Smith was dropped off in a parking lot at Mountaineer Hall about 10:30 p.m.

Police also released an audio clip of the 911 call that led investigators to Smith’s body. The female caller tells a dispatcher her location and says she believes she has found the body of Anna Smith.

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