Police say Mary Coulthard’s death remains mystery, despite coroner report

Police say Mary Coulthard’s death remains mystery, despite coroner report
Mary L. Coulthard

The Rock County Coroner’s Office ruled Mary Coulthard’s death a homicide last week, but Janesville police say they still don’t know what happened to the 75-year-old, who was found dead in the Rock River last year.

However, despite what police call a lack of evidence, Teri Rice, Coulthard’s daughter, believes her mother was murdered.

“I know my mom is in heaven and I hate to think that there is somebody else out there that is a murderer. I hope he is already behind bars,” Rice said.

It’s been seven months of unanswered questions for family members of Mary Coulthard. However, when former Rock County Coroner Lou Smit ruled her death a homicide in December, sighting that Coulthard died from an anoxic brain injury due to drowning, her family thought their questions had been answered. But Janesville police said they have no evidence to prove foul play was involved.

“The reality of this case is that we may never know,” Janesville Deputy Chief Danny Davis said.

“The coroner’s office may very well be right. But we don’t know if the injuries took place before or after she was in the water. So that combination of variables is what causes us to believe we just don’t have enough information to make a definitive determination.”

“I don’t see how they (police) can’t come to that conclusion. I would surely think they would eventually find out who did it, and to me there are too many coincidences around that time period,” Rice said.

Coulthard went missing a week before her body was found in the river May 9, Janesville police said.

Three days before Coulthard’s body was found, police recovered the body of 21-year-old Britney Cross, of Edgerton, behind a business at 533 N. Main St. in Janesville, which is near the Rock River. Cross’ death was ruled a homicide.

Due to when and where Coulthard’s body was found, and based on statements Clayton Courtney made, police were investigating if there were any connections between Courtney and Coulthard. However, police said on May 12 there was no evidence that the two crossed paths, and Courtney has not been charged with a crime related to Coulthard’s death.

Rice said her mother’s desire to spread her faith with strangers caused her to get into fights in the past — something she believes ultimately led to her death.

“She didn’t know when to quit. She just thought everyone should believe and she wouldn’t let up,” Rice said.

Still left without answers, Rice is holding onto hope of finding out what happened to her mother.

“I believe that eventually they (police) will find the evidence they need to bring the person to justice, whoever did this to her should be held accountable,” she said.

Coulthard’s death remains an open investigation by the Janesville Police Department. Police ask anyone with information call the department at 608-757-2244.