Exeter woman was not murdered
An Exeter woman’s death was ruled a suicide last week.
Exeter Police Lt. Celis Rabena said an autopsy conducted on Jan. 16 showed 41-year-old Kelli Lopez-Dias of Exeter died from self inflicted wounds using a knife, which officers found near her body.
“It is very unusual [for someone to stab themselves] but we never rule anything out until we have all the facts,” Rabena said.
Rabena said he did not have any further information about the motives behind her action but said officers responded to her home in the 500 block of Lone Oak Court in Exeter on Sunday. Rabena said officers were dispatched on Jan. 13 for someone disturbing the peace. Officers arrived to find Lopez-Dias “causing a disturbance” at a neighbor’s front door. Rabena said Dias cooperated with officers and was taken by ambulance to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia. Rabena said a toxicology report would not be available for at least another week.
Family members made several attempts to contact her over the next few days. When she did not return their calls, her father Cecil Lopez and brother Eric Lopez decided to go to her home on Tuesday morning in the 500 block of Lone Oak Court. Police arrived at about 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 15.
“The family members entered the home, saw the deceased and then backed out of the home to call the police,” Rabena said in an interview last week.
At least one neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, said Lopez-Dias was brought home by taxi cab earlier that morning and that the cab returned shortly after. Rabena said Lopez-Dias had attempted to write a check to pay for the cab fare and the taxi returned when the cab driver had trouble cashing the check.
“We interviewed him to check it out but he was not detained,” Rabena said.
Both investigators and neighbors said Lopez-Dias lived alone in the large two story house in the quiet cul-de-sac near Schroth Park in Exeter. A mostly older neighborhood, Lopez-Dias was one of the few on the street who had young children. Bicycles could be seen near the doorway as investigators collected evidence behind the crime scene tape along the sidewalk. Neighbors said Lopez-Dias had two twin girls about 5 years old and two sons ranging in age between 8-11 years old. It was a common scene to find the children riding their bicycles around the street or playing on the basketball hoop at the end of the street in front of Lopez-Dias’ home.
“From what we know she has lived here for about 10 years,” Rabena said. “We didn’t get into the status of the relationship with the husband.”
Gino Galli, who lives next door to Lopez-Dias, said she mostly kept to herself but was not anti-social. Galli, who said he has only lived on the street for about a year, said Lopez-Dias would decorate her house for Halloween and Christmas, did all of her own yard work and always had her children well groomed and well dressed.
One neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, said the children did not live with their mother full time and that she had recently been taken to the hospital by ambulance.
“We had some common ground we could share and she was always very nice and friendly to me,” he said. “She had a beautiful family and she took great care of her children. But she also had some problems.”
In an interview yesterday, Jan. 22, Sgt. Amy Watkins with the Visalia Police Department said Lopez-Dias was arrested at the hospital at 10:45 a.m. on Jan. 13, the same day Exeter officers were dispatched for a call of her disturbing the peace. Watkins said Lopez-Dias was arrested for being under the influence of a narcotic and was booked by noon at the Bob Wiley Detention Facility.
According to her obituary, Lopez-Dias was born Nov. 17, 1970 in Mt. View, Calif. To parents Cecil Sr. & Diane Lopez. Kelli is the forth child of five. Kelli worked hard and became an X-ray technician in which she enjoyed working at both Kaweah Delta Hospital and Tulare Regional Medical Center. Kelli loved her career and the people she worked with and that sentiment is expressed mutually by any one she worked with.
“Kelli Lopez Dias, 42, left us sooner than expected on Jan. 14, 2013 in Exeter. Although Kelli decided her own fate she may have left a void but she also left a mark larger than herself,” read her obituary.
Kelli is survived by her father Cecil Lopez Sr, and her two brothers Eric & Cecil Lopez as well as sisters Cecilia Sweeney and Audrey Lozano. Kelli leaves behind 4 beautiful children Tyler Dias, 10, Joshua Dias, 8, and twin girls Kylie & Kiana Dias, 5.
She was preceded in death by her beloved mother Diane Lopez who passed from cancer June 12, 2000.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 25 at Salser and Dillard Funeral Chapel. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24 at Salser and Dillard. Burial will be at the Visalia District Cemetery. Condolences may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.