2011 death in Indian Land ruled overdose gets closer look

joverman@fortmilltimes.comOctober 1, 2013 

n an undated photo Laraine Farca sits with her son John. Behind them is family friend Keith Palumbo. Authorities are taking a closer look at the circumstances conncering her 2001 death at her Indian Land home.

SUBMITTED PHOTO — Submitted photo

— The 2011 death of Indian Land resident Laraine Farca is getting a second look after a family friend persuaded Solicitor Doug Barfield that Farca’s death needed closer examination.

Farca was found floating face down in her pool by her husband, Alexander Farca, early in the morning on July 23, 2011. She was wearing leopard print pajamas and had duct tape over her mouth, nose, eyes, and on one wrist, according to sherrif’s office and autopsy reports.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene at the Bridgehampton home, Alexander Farca was lying beside the pool, holding his wife’s head out of the water, according to a sheriff’s office report.

According to reports from the coroner’s office, Laraine Farca likely died hours earlier. Toxicology tests showed that Laraine Farca had “very elevated concentrations” of Valium and Dalmane in her system. Dalmane is a drug prescribed for insomnia and anxiety, according to the coroner’s report.

Taking medication wasn’t uncommon for Laraine Farca, according to the reports, which said that her sister, Joanne Pasutto, told deputies that Farca had a history of allergies, sinus problems, headaches, insomnia, depression and a herniated disk.

“Mrs. Pasutto states that her sister isn’t brave and that she is quick to take pills (and takes lots),” according to the coroner’s report.

According to the coroner’s report, violence was suspected.

Laraine Farca had cuts on her hands and bruises high on her chest that “could have come from dragging or someone standing on her but unclear,” as well as bruises around her clavicle, according to the coroner’s report.

The coroner’s office ruled that Laraine Farca died due to a mixed drug overdose, with a manner that could not be determined.

Alexander Farca says that his wife was depressed

She had attempted suicide before, in 2002, according to the sheriff’s office report.

“She was having a hard time for years,” he said.

Farca believes she committed suicide because of stress.

“She was just put in a corner with nowhere to run. It had nothing to do with me. I tried to appease things and it wasn’t enough,” Farca said.

The oddity of the duct tape can be explained by the medication, he said.

“She took a large amount of medications that precipitated her state of mind and all those medications gave her, I guess, a hindrance on fighting. What she wanted to do was escape. Getting herself into the pool, she didn’t want to see anything, or fight it. She gave up. That’s what happened,” Farca said.

Keith Palumbo, who grew up down the street from Laraine Farca and thought of her as a second mother, thinks differently. He can’t imagine Farca taking her own life.

After speaking with Palumbo, Barfield got in touch with the sheriff’s office and discussed the case.

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately return calls for comment.

“There was a good bit of back and forth. There were some issues we discussed that need a little more examination,” Barfield said.

No suspects have been named, but the sheriff’s office is planning a closer look at the coroner’s findings, he added.

Editor Michael Harrison contributed to this story.

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