Woman found dead; no cause yet determined

Update: On Thursday morning, April 6, Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said the Alaska Medical Examiner ruled that Marlene Eke died of natural causes.

The Alaska State Medical Examiner has not yet determined the cause of a death of a 44-year-old Homer woman found dead on Svedlund Street on March 18. Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said a passer-by at about 7 a.m. saw the victim, Marlene Eke, lying face down and apparently dead near the corner of Svedlund Street and Herndon Drive. Police confirmed that Eke had died and have notified next of kin. No foul play is suspected, Robl said.

The State Medical Examiner’s office did an autopsy March 20. “They did not find anything suspicious, but they also did not find an obvious cause of death,” Robl wrote in an email. Final determination will come after the medical examiner gets toxicology results in from two to four weeks, he said.

Robl said Eke did not have any obvious injuries and did not appear to have slipped. She also had no signs of hypothermia. Police talked to people she had last been with and did not discover anything unusual or suspicious, Robl said. Eke had last been seen alive by friends between midnight and 1 a.m. March 18 when Eke started walking home after visiting with friends at Alice’s Champagne Palace. “There was no indication by witnesses that she was unable to take care of herself in any way,” Robl said.

Eke worked as a certified surgical tech in the Surgical Services Department as South Peninsula Hospital, said Derotha Ferraro, director of public relations. “We were shocked and saddened by the news, and our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends and coworkers during this very difficult time,” Ferraro said.