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Lexington coroner releases new details regarding woman who died in Belk restroom

An autopsy suggests no foul play is suspected in Bessie Durham's death. The worker is believed to have died days before she was found by an employee.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Authorities are releasing new details regarding the death of a woman found in a Columbia department store's restroom.

According to Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher, an autopsy of 63-year-old Bessie Durham has found that she died of natural causes and that there was no indication of foul play.

Durham was found dead on Monday by a coworker in the Belk department store restroom at the Columbiana Centre. However, surveillance video suggested she had entered the restroom days earlier. Fisher said that the woman is believed to have died on Sept. 15.

Belk confirmed in a statement that Durham was found in a family restroom and that she did housekeeping for the store through an outside company.

Columbia Police said that their office responded on Monday to a missing person report in a neighborhood off of Monticello Road where a family had reported a woman missing - around the same time Durham was found dead.

Since Durham was found, police have continued investigating the incident and said they had interviewed employees and taken statements at Belk.

Belk declined to comment on policies surrounding the cleaning and inspection of restrooms or how often they are checked.

The company did release a statement offering its condolences and that it is working to determine what happened. In the meantime, counselors have been made available to offer support to store associates.

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