published Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Soddy-Daisy property searched following Karen Morton's death

  • photo
    Karen Morton was found dead outside her home at 1218 Montlake Road in Soddy-Daisy on Saturday morning.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office has told residents on Montlake Road in Soddy-Daisy that they don't have to worry about their safety after a woman was found dead near her home there.

But investigators still are not allowing anyone inside Karen Morton's house and conducting extensive searches of the 30-acre property where she was found.

Officials will not give details on what they are searching for, but sheriff's spokeswoman Janice Atkinson said agents will continue to comb the property until "every bit" of it is covered.

Deputies found 57-year-old Morton dead outside her home on Montlake Road after she didn't show up for work at Erlanger North on Saturday morning.

The sheriff's office has ruled out the possibility of suicide, but has not determined whether foul play is involved.

More clues may come from a report from the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office, expected later this week.

Morton lived alone, but several horses and other animals were on the property, Atkinson said.

She had worked as an emergency room nurse at Erlanger North for at least 20 years, said Erlanger spokeswoman Pat Charles.

"She clocked out at 7 p.m. Friday, and all her colleagues said she was in good spirits," Charles said.

When Morton failed to show up to work for her 7 a.m. shift Saturday morning and didn't answer phone calls, hospital officials asked the sheriff's office to check on her.

"It's such a shock to everyone here," said Charles. "We're all just sitting here, waiting to find out what could have happened."

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