Autopsy: Siler City woman likely dead before being set on fire

From staff reportsFebruary 15, 2013 

Daphne Forster

CHATHAM COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

— A medical examiner’s report released Friday says a Siler City woman’s October death was a homicide but the cause is unclear.

The body of Daphne Marie Forster, 38, of 261 Jim Gilliland Road, was bound and set on fire before being found by a passing motorist Oct. 10 in northern Chatham County.

The autopsy report said Forster was burned over 50 percent of her body. Her left forearm and hand became detached in the fire, said Dr. Lauren C. Scott, assistant chief medical examiner with the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office in Raleigh. Partially melted plastic bags were looped around her feet, and duct tape around her left calf, right wrist and mouth also was melted, the report stated.

The autopsy could not rule out asphyxiation from smothering or strangulation, but the low level of soot in Forster’s lungs indicate she was killed before being set on fire, the report stated. A toxicology test found she had a 0.11 blood alcohol content and small amounts of the antidepressants trazodone, bupropion and fluoxetine, the report stated.

Brian Keith Whitfield, 24, and Caleb Shaddie Wyland, 25, both of 3400 Carl Durham Road, Chapel Hill, were charged Oct. 23 with first-degree murder in Forster’s death.

Wyland is currently serving a three-year sentence in Bertie Correction Institution for discharging a firearm into occupied property. Whitfield is being held in the Chatham County Jail.

Their next court appearance is scheduled for March 4.

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