North Port woman dies after falling into septic tank

The home on Andalusia St of a North Port woman who died after falling into her septic tank.
A 74-year-old North Port woman died last week after falling into her septic tank, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.
The woman was last seen around 6 p.m. on the evening of May 9, according to North Port Public Information Officer Josh Taylor. The next morning, the woman's daughter called the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department for a wellness check, and upon arriving at her home on Andalusia St., deputies found the woman's body in the septic tank.
"It's not 100% clear if the septic tank lid had collapsed before and there was a hole and she fell into the hole, or it was weak and just her step on it caused it to give out completely where she fell in said Taylor.
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Sheriff's deputies were the first to arrive as many North Port Police Department personnel attended a funeral for a recently deceased North Port officer. When deputies arrived at the scene, the woman's hose was running, leading investigators to believe the woman was watering her yard when the septic tank collapsed, according to Taylor.
Taylor said the city's coroner, based on initial findings, did not believe the woman had drowned. "They're running some additional tests to see if maybe she's had a heart attack or something just based on the shock of falling in," he said.
Taylor had not received the final coroner's findings but said there was no suspicion of foul play.
For the surrounding community, the woman's death is a shocking tragedy.
Chuck Westenberg, who lived across the street from her, said the woman is "very private" but a great neighbor. She used to have a restaurant and brought food and cakes to Westenberg and other neighbors' houses.
The nature of his neighbor's death came as a shock to him, because Westenberg said she was always out there watering her plants, day and night.
This article originally appeared in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Septic tank collapse kills North Port woman
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