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The 56-year-old Chattanooga woman who was killed in her College Hill Courts apartment in mid-April was beaten so severely that her skull fractured and she suffered from bleeding around her brain, according to a preliminary report from the Hamilton County medical examiner.

Rosa Chatman was also found with a 6-inch gash in her neck, according to the report. Chattanooga Housing Authority employees found Chatman's naked body inside her apartment on April 15 during a routine inspection.

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Rosa Chatman, 56, was found dead in her College Hill Courts apartment.

Chatman, a grandmother and long-time volunteer at Woodmore Elementary School, was the ninth person to be killed in Chattanooga in 2015. Her death capped a deadly week in the city, with three homicides in a five-day span. There have been no additional homicides in the city since.

On Tuesday, police declined to release any new details about the homicide investigation.

"The release of any additional details at this time could negatively impact the integrity of the case, and seeking justice for the victim is our No. 1 priority," said police communications coordinator Kyle Miller.

The preliminary report shows that Chatman did not have any obvious defensive wounds, said Amy Gruszecki, a board-certified forensic pathologist at American Forensics, a private company in Texas.

Gruszecki is not involved in Chatman's case but reviewed the autopsy at the request of the Times Free Press.

She added that there is no way to tell from the report how long the attack lasted.

"Looking at it and looking at the pictures, this could have happened within several minutes or several hours," she said. "Hit her, walk away, hit her, walk away -- there is no way to tell."'

Gruszecki said it appears Chatman had been dead for more than a day before her body was discovered.

Chatman's daughter, Roshandra Stallworth, said she has no idea who could have killed her mother.

A few days after she buried her mother, Stallworth's grandmother, 74-year-old Ernestine McDonald, also passed away.

"We buried my mom on a Wednesday and my grandmother died on Saturday," she said.

"It was too much for her; she couldn't handle it."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com with tips or story ideas.

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