Witness describes what she heard before woman falls to her death

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - New information about a woman who fell five stories to her death in Shockoe Bottom. Police confirm they are calling this a suspicious death. It happened on South 21st Street near East Main Street.

Richmond police identified the woman as Casie L. Rhodes, 30, of the 2000 block of East Main Street. One witness said she heard what she thought was a man and woman arguing, then screams.

Police said this is a complicated case as investigators piece together what other witnesses saw which will be added to what's released by the medical examiner.

Late Tuesday, forensic investigators took measurements on the fifth floor balcony where a woman fell to her death, including the distance to the sidewalk. After being on scene for hours, investigators left the Engine Company Lofts with bags of evidence.

"It's terribly traumatic," said Elizabeth Oakley who lives across the street.

Oakley was working on her home computer when she said loud voices, believed to be from a man and woman, caught her attention.

"It progressed. It stayed loud and suddenly, about five minutes later, I heard screaming," said Oakley.

During the commotion, Oakley said she ran down the stairs while on the phone with 911.

"I was going to go over and check for a pulse but they said she was gone already," said Oakley.

Oakley said she saw men from a construction crew near the body.

"One of them was holding his head and I believe he was the one who was screaming," said Oakley.

She then saw a man in police custody.

"They did escort the gentleman away in handcuffs," said Oakley.

Witnesses said the woman moved in with her boyfriend just days ago, but it's not known if he was the one taken from the scene.

It's leaving more questions than answers for people who live here.

"I'm sure that as time goes with the next 24 to 48 hours there will be a lot more of an answer," said Charles Inch, who also lives across the street.

Inch can see the balcony from his apartment window.

"I'm obviously concerned about the family of the victim and everything else that goes along with a tragedy like this," said Inch.

A construction worker told NBC12 he saw the woman smiling as she took out her trash, just minutes before the tragedy unfolded.

"It had to be a horrifically traumatic thing to witness," said Oakley.

Police want to hear from you if you heard or saw anything that could help investigators. Call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

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