District Attorney: Prosecutors awaiting autopsy results in death of Kitty Hawk woman

Amanda LeeAnn Fletcher Hartleben

Dare County District Attorney Andrew Womble issued a statement Monday regarding the death of 38-year-old Kitty Hawk resident Amanda LeeAnn Fletcher Hartleben, who died last month after being last seen with her boyfriend.

“In light of the recent public scrutiny surrounding the death … I have decided to release a statement regarding the continued investigation of this matter,” Womble wrote. “At this time, our office is awaiting the official autopsy report from the medical examiner’s office in Virginia. No decisions regarding potential criminal charges will be made by the District Attorney’s Office until we receive this report.”

Hartleben was found unconscious in her home July 22. At the time, police said they were looking for her boyfriend, Jay Tolson, as a “person of interest” in a “possible assault.” Investigators later located and interviewed Tolson, but no charges were place. On July 25, Hartleben died at a hospital in Virginia.

The case caused some uproar in the community, with many questioning why there had been no arrest. On July 27, police issued a statement asking patience and saying the investigation continues.

“It would be inappropriate and counterproductive for us to provide a finding based solely on social media posts or media reports that may or may not be supported by the evidence gathered in this ongoing investigation,” police said at the time. “We are working closely with the District Attorney’s Office to carefully and thoroughly examine all of the evidence submitted before making any final determination.

On Monday, Womble said “the only appropriate statement is that the investigation is still ongoing.”

“Releasing statements regarding ongoing criminal investigations is not in the ordinary course of business by this District Attorney’s Office,” he wrote. “However, in situations where the integrity of law enforcement is called into question, I feel I have no other recourse. As District Attorney, I took an oath to do justice and to relentlessly pursue the truth wherever it may lead, and I will continue to do so in this case and in all future cases.”

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kpugh@jammediallc.com