The Gila County Sheriff’s Office concluded that a “suspicious death” at the Flowing Springs Campground Tuesday night was actually due to alcohol abuse.
Officers found the body of Lindsay Scheuermann, 25, in the campground about 10:40 a.m. Wednesday. They later arrested Mark Ross, 31, Scheuermann’s fiance, on a charge of murder, said Det. Karen Baltz with the GCSO.
However, the sheriff’s office released Ross after autopsy results showed the woman’s death was consistent with alcohol abuse — probably due to asphyxiation.
Scheuermann and Ross were reportedly dropped off at the campground Sunday night after being kicked out of a home in the Valley where they were staying with Ross’ family, Baltz said.
The couple reportedly had some issues with the family related to alcohol and were dropped off to “start their own life,” she said.
The pair, who had no vehicle, set up camp near the East Verde River and drank heavily for the next three days, Baltz said.
On Wednesday morning, Ross told police he woke up and found Scheuermann unresponsive and cold to the touch.
Ross went to a nearby campsite and asked a couple there if they could call for help because he did not have cell service.
That couple, who the Roundup spoke to Thursday, said they did not hear or notice anything suspicious at Ross and Scheuermann’s campsite.
They watched officers comb through the site for much of the day, but didn’t know Ross had been arrested for murder.
The suspicious circumstances surrounding Scheuermann’s death and extensive bruising on her body, arms and legs prompted detectives to arrest Ross, Baltz said. “Until an autopsy is done, we won’t really know the exact cause of her death,” she said.
Ross denied any wrongdoing and said Scheuermann likely injured herself stumbling around the campsite drunk.
Baltz would not say if they found drugs at the campsite or if Scheuermann had any pre-existing medical conditions.
A friend of Scheuermann’s said although Scheuermann had a checkered past, she was trying hard to get better and was a “sweetheart.”
More than a dozen officers, including the county attorney, were at the crime scene for much of Wednesday, police tape blocking off the area, including the couple’s tent.
The Flowing Springs Campground is situated along the East Verde River, 3.5 miles north of town. The area is a popular place for trout fishing and hiking.
The campground features several sites, but there is no camp host, water or trash service.