Fortson’s autopsy cites hypertensive heart disease
An autopsy of a Henderson woman’s death after a seizure while in the custody of the N.C. Department of Corrections pinpointed a key moment in which she collapsed unresponsive while showering.
Diagnoses of contributing factors in the death of 38-year-old Lenita Siplen Fortson included hypertensive cardiovascular disease, diabetic problems, bronchial pneumonia and other serious conditions.
Fortson had been jailed on a first-degree murder charge in the Jan. 1 shooting death of her husband, 41-year-old Royvitt Lawedy Fortson, in Warren County.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner report signed by Dr. Lauren C. Scott and Dr. Samuel D. Simmons noted the cause of death as complications of hypertensive heart disease.
They noted that Lenita Fortson had a medical history of diabetes and hypertension.
“She was residing at the North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women on Jan. 21 when she was reportedly taking a shower with assistance, and she was observed to collapse and become unresponsive,” their report stated in a written summary narrative.
According to Scott and Simmons, emergency personnel rushed her to WakeMed Hospital where initial indications were that she was without a pulse or electrical activity, but she “subsequently regained a pulse,” their report stated.
Hospital staff worked on problems with an elevated waste product in the blood called creatinine and dangerous glucose readings.
“After admission, she was placed on hypothermia protocol,” the report summary stated.
Signs of significant brain injury, renal and respiratory failure prompted treatment to be adjusted to “comfort measures only” because of the “poor prognosis” and Fortson died on Feb. 1.
After her death, Warren deputies arrested William H. Hunter, 24, of 511 Spring Court in Henderson, and Corey Nashaun Daye-Henderson, 21, of 3006 Derby Run Road, Jacksonville, on separate charges.
Hunter faces a first-degree murder charge as the accused shooter in the case, and Daye-Henderson faces an accessory charge.
According to court documents in the case, Lenita Fortson conspired with Hunter to kill Royvitt Fortson during a meeting at the BP station at 927 Oine Road, off exit 229 from Interstate 85.
Royvitt Fortson came to collect some belongings from her, and while walking near her car, Hunter emerged from hiding to shoot him, according to written statements by Ashley Woodlief, a special agent with the State Bureau of Investigation, in a search warrant affidavit signed by Superior Court Judge Henry Hight.
Hunter remains in jail without bond, according to Warren County jail officials, pending a Superior Court hearing to be determined.
Daye-Henderson’s bond was reduced from $350,000 to $50,000, and he was released, according to jail officials. Court records indicate a condition of release was for him to remain in the custody of his parents in Jacksonville.
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