Venice Police closing death investigation after autopsy findings in Tracey Rieker case

Missing Person: Tracey Lynn Rieker
Missing Person: Tracey Lynn Rieker
Updated: Jan. 28, 2021 at 9:34 AM EST
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VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - Autopsy results regarding the death of Tracey Rieker have revealed that the cause of death was drowning. Venice Police have now released a statement announcing that they are closing the death investigation.

ABC7 requested the autopsy report in December of last year and now we have learned that Rieker’s cause of death has been listed as drowning.

Rieker had no other visible signs of trauma, according to the medical examiner’s report. The manner of death is listed as undetermined, meaning the coroner isn’t sure how Rieker’s car entered the water.

Detectives say Rieker had been battling mental illness before her disappearance and have expressed their sympathy to her family.

The autopsy revealed no drugs and a small amount of ethanol. The State Medical Examiner says that the amount of alcohol identified is consistent with post-mortem production due to decomposition. You can read the statement in its entirety below:

Tracey Rieker was discovered missing the morning of September 30, 2020 when her husband awoke and discovered she and her vehicle were gone from the family home, leaving behind her purse and cell phone. Despite significant efforts focused on finding Tracey alive and well, ultimately specially trained cadaver dogs guided investigators to a lake near Tracey’s home, where on October 10, 2020 divers located Tracey deceased inside her submerged vehicle.

A Venice PD Traffic Homicide Investigator (THI) was assigned to assist in the investigation, as required by policy anytime a motor vehicle crash involves a fatality. The THI found no evidence of criminal activity or malfunction that resulted in the vehicle entering the water. The District 12 Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy and determined the cause of death was drowning.

There was no evidence of trauma or impairment. The investigation revealed that Mrs. Rieker was suffering from mental illness that she refused to treat as recommended by doctors. Prior to her death she displayed erratic behavior that further brought her psychological health into question. Investigators have found no evidence of foul play.

All individuals close to Tracey have been cooperative and forthright with investigators. We have established that she acted alone in her disappearance and drove her vehicle into the body of water that ultimately led to her death. At this time, it is undetermined if Tracey drove into the lake as a conscious deliberate act or if it was an unintentional consequence of her altered mental state. For this reason the Medical Examiner has classified the Manner of Death as Undetermined.

The investigation into the Tracey Rieker’s death is concluded. Our sympathy goes to the family and friends of Tracey as they mourn her loss.

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