A Soddy-Daisy nurse found dead in her barn was killed by a horse that kicked her in the head, the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office said Wednesday.
Deputies found 56-year-old Karen Morton dead on the barn floor at her Montlake Road home after she didn't show up for work at Erlanger North on Saturday morning.
She suffered extensive abrasions and bruises to her head, the medical examiner's report states. Blood was on the ground outside the barn and a horse was loose on the property, according to the report.
"I have no memory of something like this happening in the county," said Janice Atkinson, spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. "I've heard of it happening other places, but it seems very rare for a horse to kick or trample someone to death."
Though the investigation is closed, Atkinson said the sheriff's office will continue to hold the property until it can be released to a court-appointed administrator.
That administrator will determine what becomes of the horse that killed Morton, Atkinson said. In the meantime, neighbors are caring for the animals, she said.
Before the medical examiner's report was released, the sheriff's office conducted extensive grid searches of the property, which Atkinson said was standard.
"Any death like this is going to be worked as a homicide or suspicious death until we know differently," she explained. "They were looking for any evidence that could help explain what happened."
Morton had worked as an emergency room nurse at Erlanger North for at least 20 years, Erlanger officials said.
She lived alone, but had several horses on the property, Atkinson said.