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Tolin may have been domestic violence victim

Tolin may have been domestic violence victim

Toxicology report may not be complete until June

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Sarah Tolin may have suffered from domestic attacks during the days leading up to her death last week, according to documents filed with the Cleveland County, Okla., district court.

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma University Police Department will not be able to rule on whether her death was a homicide or suicide for at least six to 12 weeks, an officer said.

Tolin, 23, the daughter of Donald and Vickie Tolin of Casper, was scheduled to graduate in May from the University of Oklahoma with a double major in sociology and history.

But at 12:28 a.m., March 7, her boyfriend Joe Blackwolf called police from their off-campus apartment, saying that Tolin had hanged herself, according to the affidavit for a search warrant by OU police officer John Bishop.

When officers arrived, they observed a computer USB cord tied around a doorknob of Tolin's bedroom and found her face up without a pulse on her bedroom floor, according to the affidavit filed Monday in Cleveland County District Court.

After attempts by paramedics to revive her, she was transported to the Norman Regional Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 1:17 a.m., according to the affidavit.

The emergency room doctor reported that Tolin had "notable lividity on her back, back of her legs and arms. Tolin has numerous contusions on her body which may be evidence of previous domestic assaults," according to the affidavit.

"The notation of lividity upon arrival at the Norman Regional Hospital draws suspicions on the unattended death of Tolin. According to the State Medical Examiner's Office, lividity can set in a deceased person within one to two hours after the time of death."

The Cleveland County District Court Clerk's Office did not have any records indicating whether Tolin had ever filed domestic violence charges or restraining orders against Blackwolf, or whether Blackwolf had any criminal record.

The OU Police Department will not be able to state whether her death was a homicide or suicide until it receives the toxicology report from the State Medical Examiner's Office, Sgt. Gary Robinson said Wednesday.

That could take between six and 12 weeks, he said.

Robinson declined to comment whether the OU Police Department was looking at Blackwolf as a suspect.

He referred questions about the toxicology report to Kevin Rowland, chief investigator for the office in Oklahoma City.

Rowland could not be reached for comment.

Blackwolf's statements

In the affidavit's summary of three separate voluntary written statements Blackwolf gave to police an hour later, Blackwolf stated that the couple had returned to the apartment and had been arguing most of the day, according to the affidavit.

He ignored her, she went into her bedroom, and then he heard her "thrashing about her bedroom" and continued to ignore her, according to the affidavit.

About two minutes after the noise stopped, Blackwolf pushed his way into her bedroom where he discovered her with the cord wrapped around her neck, undid the cord from her neck, tried to revive her, then called 911, according to the affidavit.

According to the first statement, Blackwolf wrote that he and Tolin - he spelled her name "Sara" - had returned to Norman from Del City where he saw his 1-year-old child and her mother, and that Tolin was arguing with him about his and the child's mother, who were drinking. Tolin was talking about work and whether Blackwolf would attend school, according to this statement.

In the second statement, Blackwolf wrote that he was in the living room watching television and Tolin was in the bedroom about to go to sleep, when she got up and started talking. He talked back briefly, and Tolin said she would leave him alone.

In the third statement, Blackwolf wrote that he had been drinking for eight hours with the mother of his child before he and Tolin returned to their apartment, that he smoked a marijuana cigarette while they were fighting, that she talked from the bedroom to him, and he finished the joint before going to the bedroom door.

"Door was closed so I push open a little stuck my head in and saw my best friend dead on the ground," he wrote. "I thought no to my self and started to take off the rope. I loved her so much. I tried to (yell) at her and tell her no."

There was no answer at the telephone number Blackwolf gave on the cover sheet of his statements.

On Monday, hundreds of people attended the funeral for Tolin, who was lauded by her wrestling coach at Kelly Walsh High School, where she graduated in 2000.

In 1998, Tolin successfully challenged a Wyoming High School Activities Association rule that prohibited mixed gender teams. After a two-year fight, the WHSAA allowed girls in grades 9 through 12 to participate in boys football and wrestling.

After graduation, she attended Casper College for a year before transferring to Neosho Community College in Kansas - where she further pursued her wrestling career - before transferring to the University of Oklahoma.

Blackwolf, according to a Google search, was on the Neosho Community College wrestling team in the 165-pound category at the same time Tolin attended the school.

Reporter Tom Morton can be reached at (307) 266-0592, or at


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