Similarities noted in deaths of two Ben Franklin Village women
German authorities say two women found dead in their bedrooms in Ben Franklin Village — one last month, one this week — both may have been killed by a lethal interaction of medications.
Andreas Grossmann, a spokesman for the Mannheim prosecutor’s office, said an autopsy completed Tuesday on Martha Pouncy failed to identify her cause of death and that a final determination awaited toxicology reports. But he said medical examiners were theorizing that Pouncy, who was found dead Sunday afternoon by her daughters, died either from heart failure or “maybe some medicine or medical intoxication.”
“At the moment, we also do not think it was a crime,” Grossman said.
Pouncy’s case appears similar to that of Juliette Hams, who was found dead Oct. 6 after neighbors called police because of an odor emanating from her apartment and the continuous barking of her dog. German authorities also believe Hams died from a lethal interaction between medications and/or alcohol.
Prosecutors, who oversee American civilian death investigations jointly conducted by German police and military police, are waiting for toxicology results to determine Hams’ cause of death, Grossman said.
The women’s cases are similar in a number of ways. Both were in their 30s, lived in Ben Franklin Village and had husbands who were deployed at the time of their deaths. Hams, 36, was born in Kenya and was married to a sergeant first-class who was in Afghanistan when she died. Pouncy, 39 and the mother of three girls, was married to a staff sergeant deployed to Iraq when she died.
Pouncy also was on the staff at the child development center on Patrick Henry Village, in charge of a room of babies 12 to 24 months, said the center’s assistant director, Laura Roberts.
“She was a fantastic caregiver,” Roberts said. “She was just very interested in her work, very passionate. Her heart and soul were truly in this job.”
Roberts said she’d known Pouncy, one of 35 center workers, for only a month. But in that time, Roberts said, Pouncy, although soft-spoken, had distinguished herself by her initiative. She wrote a newsletter for parents and, for a military appreciation event, devised “little certificates for the parents.”
“She just went above and beyond,” Roberts said.