Suicide or murder? A mother takes her own investigation to FDLE - WFLA News Channel 8

Suicide or murder? A mother takes her own investigation to detectives

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Kelly Osborn seemed relieved after the meeting. She smiled occasionally as she sat in her Hillsborough County home, but you could tell the question that's been lingering on her mind for years has impacted her greatly.

"How long it took to fight to get to this day," she said. "It was worth it."

She'd been meeting with Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers for the greater part of the afternoon. She spent five hours there, telling two special agents about the evidence she and the private investigators she's hired have dug up in the case of her daughter's death.

"I don't know where their direction will take their investigation, but I will know this: That, for the first time, Sheena got a full and fair investigation," Osborn said.

Her daughter, Sheena Morris, was 22 when police found her dead in a room at the Bridge Walk Resort in Anna Maria Island. Bradenton Beach Police detectives ruled it a suicide. They found her hanged in a shower.

Chief Sam Speciale told News Channel 8 in October 2012 that the evidence always pointed to suicide.

"When I look at things - I have to look at the facts and not the emotions or opinions of it," Speciale said.

But Osborn has never believed her daughter killed herself.

"When you know there's something wrong, you have to exhaust every measure to make it right," Osborn said.

She says evidence shows officers found her daughter's body with her bottom only six to seven inches off the floor and legs straight out in front of her. Osborn says Sheena's boyfriend was with her that night and a call from next door is what prompted police to check out a domestic disturbance in the room in the first place.

Eight months ago, the case was reopened and now agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are taking a closer look into what happened to Sheena Morris.

"She deserves this investigation," Osborn said. "That's all l've ever asked for was: Please give Sheena a fair investigation and she's getting it."

A spokeswoman from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says Bradenton Beach Police Department continues to be the lead investigative agency.  FDLE's role is to investigate all recommendations that came from an independent panel last year.  The interview with Ms. Osborn is part of that follow-up.

"FDLE is exhausting all reasonable steps to fully examine the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheena Morris," said Gretl Plessinger. "As part of that, it is important to speak with her mother, Ms. Osborn."

The findings will go to the State Attorney, who will determine if Morris' death was really suicide or murder, and if someone should face charges.


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