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Woman dies after being found beaten in backyard

Her co-workers knew something was wrong when she didn't show up for work. And hours later, police say they found a woman so badly beaten, they first thought she was dead.

Umi Southworth, who was in her 40s, was taken to UK Hospital in critical condition and died Thursday.

Southworth was found late Wednesday night behind her apartment on Meadowthorpe Avenue off Leestown Road. Now Lexington Police are trying to figure out who attacked her.

It all started as a missing persons report. Southworth didn't show up to work yesterday at the Fazoli's Corporate Offices where she works as an accountant.

Her co-workers called police, and their investigation led them to her own backyard.

Umi Southworth lived in an apartment building with her husband Donald and their 12-year-old daughter. But Wednesday, she was nowhere to be found. Police began investigating and neighbors were concerned.

"Through the night, it just seemed to keep growing and growing and growing. I went to Kroger and when I came back, they'd actually blocked off the entrance to this street and about halfway up this way and they did the same in the alley," says neighbor Carson Morton.

That's because police were searching for the missing woman around her home. They found her in the back yard in some bushes, with severe head injuries.

At first, police thought she was dead and called the coroner, but later they determined she was still breathing.

Neighbors say the scene was intense.

"They were just taping off areas and telling us, you know, 'You can't go past your garage, you can't touch your trash can, you can't put it to the curb, you can't do this,' so, it was kind of off-putting," Morton says.

Police questioned Umi's husband Donald as well as several others.

Other tenants in the apartment building didn't want to go on camera, but say they saw and heard a lot of activity overnight.

Neighbors say the situation is hard to believe.

"It's pretty shocking, I mean the most we ever get over here is maybe one, two cop cars for a noise ordinance or something. It's usually pretty quiet, you know, people know each other, we've got the newsletter," Morton says.

Someone in HR at the Fazoli's Corporate Offices tells us that Umi worked as an accountant there for two years.

While police have questioned many people, they have not named any suspects.


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