[UPDATED with Death Ruled Accidental:] Sherry Ann Feeney, OC Homicide No. 8: Found in Apartment
With the Orange County Coroner having ruled the death of 45-year-oldSherry Ann Feeney
accidental, prosecutors have declined to file charges against the man who found her in his Santa Ana apartment.
Santa Ana police had previously suspected 40-year-old Preet Grewal murdered Feeney, a mother who also went by Sherry Ann Pfeiffer.
Grewal told cops he awoke April 5 to find an unresponsive woman he did not know in his apartments. Noticing trauma to her body, police said, the resident was later arrested on suspicion of killing Feeney, who it turned out he'd known for quite some time.
But the cause of Feeney's death was later deemed inconclusive by the coroner, who--based on toxicology findings that rolled in later--ultimately ruled her demise was accidental, caused by the combined effects of codeine, morphine, amphetamine and methamphetamine.
Orange County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Farrah Emami reportedly tells the Orange County Register that, as with any case, charges could still be filed against the former suspect if more evidence comes to light.
The Santa Ana Police Department, which had 72 hours after the arrest of Preet Grewal to files charges against the 40-year-old Santa Ana resident, released him at the urging of the district attorney's office, which decided more evidence is needed to make a case stick.
An autopsy Wednesday was inconclusive when it came to determining the cause of Feeney's death.
Police say Grewal, who was apparently the only person in his apartment when the woman died, remains the No. 1 suspect.
UPDATE, APRIL 7, 9:37 A.M.: Santa Ana police have identified the woman found dead in a Santa Ana apartment Tuesday morning.
But exactly how 45-year-old transient Sherry Ann Feeney died and what her relationship was to the man suspected of murdering her have yet to be released.
Feeney also went by Sherry Ann Pfeiffer, but it is unclear whether one of her names was a married name. Other than having sustained trauma to her body, police have not yet divulged how she was killed.
Preet Grewal, the 40-year-old renter of the upstairs apartment unit in the 3300 block of South Bear Street where Feeney's body was found, is being held for her murder. And he has a rap sheet, according to the Register's Sean Emery.
Citing U.S. District Court records, Emery writes that Grewal was indicted on federal charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2005. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years probation and 12 months in a residential drug-treatment program.
Court records also indicate Grewal had been convicted of unspecified crimes in 1998 and 2004, according to the Register report, which notes the suspect was sentenced to five months behind bars in early 2010 after violating his probation.
ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 6, 10:54 A.M.: 40-year-old Preet Grewal contacted police Tuesday morning to say he awoke in his Santa Ana apartment to find a woman who lives there unresponsive.
Paramedics arrived to the upstairs unit in the 3300 block of South Bear Street about 10:30 a.m. to find a dead woman, and police say the trauma she sustained lead them to believe she was murdered.
Now, 40-year-old Grewal has been arrested on suspicion of homicide.
According to police, Grewal initially said he did not know the woman but that turned out to be untrue. He lives in the apartment with a second man, but Grewal was the only one home when police arrived.
Grewal's car has been impounded as part of the investigation. Police have not indicated whether a weapon was found at the apartment.
An autopsy is scheduled today. Her name will be released once her next of kin have been notified.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.