An autopsy performed on a young bride-to-be who was left for dead inside her burning apartment has revealed she was strangled before the blaze was lit.
The report, released this week by Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office, also shows that Amanda Strous, 27, suffered substantial burns and blunt-force injuries during the June 18 attack, which occurred while her fiance was inter-state attending his buck’s party, reports local outlet WBTV.
The college counsellor was found alive inside her North Carolina home, her mouth taped shut and wearing only bikini bottoms, a fire raging around her. She was rushed to hospital, but later died of her injuries.
A resident of Strous’ building, Matthew Thomas Benner, was arrested in Las Vegas two days later and charged with first degree arson and murder, after reportedly confessing to the crime, reports WBTV.
It remains unclear whether Strous knew Benner, but police reportedly believe the 28-year-old may have been stalking her in the lead up to the attack.
A former student of Shippensburg University, the 27-year-old once wrote a letter about how she would like to be remembered as part of a college graduate project.
“When I die I want to be remembered as a person who loved life to the fullest,” she wrote in the letter according to WSOC TV, “I want a positive impression to be left behind with close friends and family, and people I have encountered throughout my life. I hope to have brought some sort of joy or meaningful fulfillment in their lives. I want to be remembered for my hard work, dedication, honesty and integrity.”
Strous was due to marry her fiance, Cory McCleaf, in July.
Featured image: Facebook.