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Woman's Death at Self-Storage Facility Ruled Suicide; Sister Still Suspects Foul Play


Investigators in Forks, Wash., have determined a woman who was found dead in a latched self-storage unit on Feb. 15 committed suicide by drug overdose. Her sister, however, thinks the conclusion is premature, as one key question remains unanswered: If no one else was at the scene, who closed the unit latch?

The door in question at Forks Mini Storage was latched with a bar but missing its padlock. The facility is not fenced in or gated, making it accessible to anyone. Forks Police Chief Doug Price hypothesizes an oblivious passer-by probably tinkered with the latch and ultimately closed it. However, the latched door fact creates a sliver of doubt that Debra Dawn Grajales, 45, took her own life after a reported fight with her domestic partner.

Family members told the source Grajales was under the influence of pain medication on Feb. 12, the night of the incident, and left her house suddenly on foot. She also had threatened to kill herself in the past. She went missing, and her daughter and partner went looking for her. The facility manager found the body three days later as he was preparing to rent the unit.

The family lobbied for the FBI to investigate the murder, but local law enforcement must request an assist from federal authorities, and they decided instead to close the investigation. Grajales' sister points to a few other facts from the crime scene that indicate another person may have been present. She told the source there were handprints on the interior side walls of the unit, as well as cigarette butts, both of which were not investigated thoroughly, in her opinion.

Forks is a small town of about 3,500 near the Pacific coast in the northwest part of the state.


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