Medical Examiner Rules Dallas Hairdresser’s Death An Accident

By Matt Goodman, CBSDFW.COM

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The death of Elizabeth Lightfoot, the 22-year-old North Dallas hairdresser found dead inside her burning car on Nov. 4, has been ruled an accident instead of a homicide, according to autopsy results released Monday by the Dallas County Medical Examiner.

Lightfoot’s car had been set aflame in the 16000 block of Preston Road. She was dead inside the car by the time authorities found the vehicle.

Despite the medical examiner’s ruling, a Dallas Police Department news release said detectives would still investigate her death as a homicide. The cause of death, the ME found, was from smoke inhalation and thermal injury.

“This case will remain open until conclusive evidence is found that fully explains Ms. Lightfoot’s death,” read a department news release.

Dallas Fire Rescue issued a similar statement, saying “the case will remain in an ‘Under Investigation Status’ until factual information is identified that better explains Lightfoot’s death.”

Neither department offered further comment.

Since the tragedy, Dallas Police have pursued leads in the woman’s death by issuing videos, photos and rewards hoping someone would come forward with information.

They’ve released video of a person believed to be Lightfoot walking out of a Tom Thumb grocery store along Preston Road two hours before her body was found.

Investigators have asked the media to only use an updated photo of Lightfoot with dark hair, which is how investigators say she looked before she died.

Oak Farms Dairy offered a $10,000 reward in the case and Dallas County Crime Stoppers added another $5,000 to that total shortly thereafter.

Friends and family celebrated her life at a public memorial at the Lakewood Theater on Nov. 20.

  • FedUpTxn

    Well of course, she bought some food then drove to a secluded spot and set her car on fire! This makes sense because?

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  • Sam Fujiyama

    That ME is no Quincy, that’s for sure.

    • 2sister

      I’m not an expert, but it’s my understanding that looking at evidence and using CSI type techniques is a lot more complicated than television shows try to make it seem. For one thing, it apparently can take a lot longer to get back things like DNA results than those shows imply. It might be that the Medical examiner couldn’t determine anything else with the evidence he had to go on.

      • 2sister

        Correction. They haven’t closed the case. The medical examiner just gave his findings. He or she probably did the best he or she could with the evidence that was available.

      • 2sister

        Also, this doesn’t mean that the case can’t be reopened if more evidence comes to light. In fact, I think the police are still investigating.

      • General Sarcasm

        LOL. She’s not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, is she?

      • Captain Obvious

        Yeah, we read that in the story…

  • vivian neel

    In your news cast tonight I beleive I heard that the police where looking for information on the identity of the woman leaving the store. Is that correct?

  • Kevin

    What if it was none of the things you people are suggesting that caused her death? What if there was some kind of malfunction in her engine and it caught fire with her unable to exit the vehicle due to the doors being locked and jamming? It’s not an unheard of thing, and if she were injured or panicking, she might not have the wherewithall to attempt to get out via breaking the window. Just throwing it out there.

  • Jeff D Johnson

    I find it interesting that this site is not reporting part of the ME’s finding that her blood alcohol level was .36, four times the legal limit. Could this have been a contributing factor?

    • ERM

      CBS11 is in a free fall when it comes to quality reporting these days. They used to be my favorite, but not so much anymore. What a totally empty story. LAZY, LAZY reporting.

      • Shane MacGowan

        .36?! Holy hell, that’s like Oliver Reed, Andre the Giant, or Ted Kennedy levels of drunkenness!

  • Eddie Murrow

    Oh my God, WFAA has a WAY better story on this. The details about the accidental death is that she had a BAC of .36! By the way, the story mentions her family is STILL thinking she was murdered, even after the findings. Sure, forget the toxicology reports, and the fact that an abnormal amount of accelerant was probably not found on or in the vehicle. She most likely passed out (hello, .36!) and crashed. Still very sad and tragic.

    What’s wrong with your reports and news copy writers lately, CBS11?! It’s like they just show up, take down the information they are given and don’t ask follow up questions.

    M.E.: Her death was accidental from smoke inhalation and thermal injury.
    CBS11 “Reporter”: Duh, OK. Thanks! I’ve got to get to The Flying Saucer now.

  • Der Dee Der

    So, Matt, is this like a part time gig for you?

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