The community was shocked to learn that a Proctor teacher was found dead in an Old Forge Motel room. 30-year-old Catherine Koestner, was shot and killed on August 25th, but her death had been under investigation for more than a month. Tonight, Herkimer authorities say the woman died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head.
"We believe that she did die from a self inflicted gun shot wound," says Jeffrey Carpenter, Herkimer County district attorney.
But community members say something just doesn't seem right.
"Sounds a little fishy to me," says Connie Stevens, Marcy resident.
"It appears she was an upbeat person with a lot to live for. So unless there was some truly unusual circumstance, that seems to me rather strange," says Karen Engell, Remsen resident.
What some people are calling a red flag is that Koestner was left-handed, yet the injury was to the right side of her head.
"A left handed person shoots with their left hand. And can't pick up a gun and shoot into her right side," says Stevens.
But the Herkimer district attorney says the investigation shows that Koestner could have used her right hand.
"She was left-handed and the injury as i stated was to the right side of the head. However through the investigation, we did determine that she was capable of using her right hand and in fact did things that required some fine motor skills with a right hand," says Carpenter.
Many community members still find it suspicious.
"I just don't believe that she would commit suicide that way," says Stevens.
"It appeared that she wouldn't be the type of person that would do that. But of course I wasn't there. I think it needed further investigation," says Engell.
Authorities say the witness at the Old Forge Motel, Joseph Moore, was interviewed a few days into the investigation. But since then, he has hired a lawyer, and is no longer cooperating with investigators.
"And without Mr. Moore cooperating, there was only 2 of them in the hotel room, we'll do as much as we can based upon evidence, based on what we know from witnesses, and based on what was overheard at the hotel," says Mark Lincoln, New York State police chief.
Carpenter says Koestner's death certificate will be changed from "pending further investigation" to "undetermined."
Whether its accidental or intentional, authorities say the investigation is open and ongoing.