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By noon of the day after we discovered the body, everybody's statement had been taken, the remains of the deceased had been removed to a County facility (in the Dolan Funeral Home hearse), and many of Isabel's questions had been answered. Our work at the Stoddard Farm was at a dead standstill. Fortunately, Detective Lonnie Patterson from the Towns County Sheriff's Office understood Isabel's need to find some closure to the situation, and he walked up to the house to share some additional information with her. When he told Isabel that he was a long-time acquaintance of her friend Sheriff Kenny Payne, Isabel was even more receptive to seeing him.
Patterson told Isabel that the remains found in the barn were presumed to be those of Keene Stoddard, Jr., and that he was believed to have committed suicide by running

a hose from the exhaust pipe of the truck through the driver's side quarter window. Because the ignition key was still in the 'on' position when investigators entered the truck, it was presumed to have run out of gas prior to Ethel's discovery of Keene's body on that tragic day in 1952.

A suicide note addressed to his wife Ethel was found inside the lunchbox on the seat of the truck, along with some insurance papers and an uneaten sandwich. In that note Keene had suggested that if Ethel didn't want to deal with the disgrace of a family suicide. she could drive Keene's Ford sedan, along with his empty boat trailer, down to Lake Nottely, and leave it locked up at the boat ramp. With Keene's previous history of heart problems, it would have been logical for authorities to assume that he had accidentally overturned the boat and drowned.
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