Closing in on a cause

Frances Bloomfield killed by ligature strangulation

NOTE: This story was originally published Oct. 18, 1997.

Frances Bloomfield died of a ligature strangulation, meaning something was tied around her neck, an Illinois investigator said Friday.

But David Swanson, chief investigator with the Winnebago County, Ill., Coroner's Office, declined to say what was tied around Bloomfield's neck, citing the on-going homicide investigation.

Swanson made his comments as the investigation enters its second month. Bloomfield, 57, of 38 Wakefield Ct., was reported missing by her husband John on Sept. 22. Two days later Winnebago County authorities reported that the body of Frances Bloomfield had been found in a shallow ditch near Rockford, Ill.

Illinois investigators are working with the Iowa City Police Department and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation on the case.

Investigators declined comment Friday on the status of the probe, except to say they have not run out of leads.

"Definitely not," said DCI Special Agent Rick Benson. "We still have a number of things to do."

Frances Bloomfield's car, a two-door, red 1994 Honda Accord with Iowa Sesquicentennial license plate SO51154, has not been found, and Benson While following up on other leads, investigators are awaiting the final autopsy report. Results of a toxicology test released earlier in October showed no chemicals or drugs in Frances Bloomfield's body.

Benson said he also has received results of tests to determine whether Frances Bloomfield was sexually assaulted, but declined comment on the results. Authorities have named no suspects in the case.

The Bloomfield home, which authorities said showed signs Frances Bloomfield may have been killed there, is no longer a controlled crime scene and family members were allowed to enter it last week.

John Bloomfield, a researcher with the Center for Computer-Aided Design at the University of Iowa, could not be reached for comment.

Center director K.K. Choi said Bloomfield has stopped in the office since his wife's death, but is now on a leave of absence.Choi said he does not know where Bloomfield is staying during the leave of absence.

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