Medical examiner rules suicide in fatal bridge incident

The death of Sophie Louise Isherwood on the Anna Maria Island Bridge March 3 was ruled a suicide by the District 12 medical examiner.

Isherwood, 24, exited a moving vehicle driven by her boyfriend, Richards Fetters III, 26, of Iowa and Holmes Beach.
Isherwood’s death was due to head injuries caused by blunt impact, according to a June autopsy report by Dr. Phoutthasone Thirakul.

Fetters and Isherwood had been traveling east on Manatee Avenue from Fetters’ parents’ home in the 600 block of North Point Drive in Holmes Beach to Isherwood’s mother’s home in the Palma Sola area, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.

In a March 15 interview, Fetters told FHP investigators that earlier in the evening he and Isherwood drank at a bar in Bradenton Beach, returned to his Holmes Beach residence to sleep and, at about midnight, she awakened Fetters.

Fetters decided it was best to take Isherwood to her mother’s home in Bradenton, according to the FHP report.

While in route, Isherwood opened the passenger door after their vehicle crested the bridge, stepped on the running board and “appeared to lose her grip as she fell out of the vehicle,” the report states.

The vehicle was traveling the posted 35-mph speed limit.

Prior reports indicated the vehicle may have struck or run over Isherwood.

The FHP’s latest report states Thirakul disagreed with the earlier reports due to the type of injuries sustained by Isherwood.

Two witnesses traveling east on the bridge at the time of the incident reported Fetters did not appear impaired.

Fetters and Isherwood had lived together for about three-and-a-half years, traveling between Florida and Iowa, following Fetters’ welding jobs, according to Isherwood’s father, Stephen Isherwood of Tewkesbury, England.

Fetters was planning to leave for Wisconsin the next morning.

Just seconds before Isherwood opened the door on the bridge, Fetters said Isherwood told him: “You’re leaving me,” and “you’re leaving me with nothing.”

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