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Back-to-Back Police Investigations Surface in Area

By Justin Caudell
On August 24, 2009

Back-to-back discoveries, one involving a death and the other an injury, opened two investigations for area police departments on Saturday, Aug. 8 and Sunday, Aug. 9.
The first investigation involves a Cherokee woman who was charged on Aug. 8 with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill after stabbing her husband at Wal-Mart.

Ariella Jo Watty, 24, of Blue Owl Road in Cherokee, was taken into custody and held without bond, according to Sgt. John Buchanan of the Sylva Police Department.
Her husband, Hugo Gaudo Ramirez, 24, sustained a pierced main artery in the neck from a knife wound around 5:30 a.m., according to police reports. The incident occurred in the parking lot, and Ramirez ran inside for help before he collapsed on the floor from a loss of blood.

Watty was arrested soon thereafter, after she was found shopping in the Wal-Mart.
Ramirez was taken to Mission Hospitals in Asheville, where he was listed in stable condition on Aug. 9 following surgery to repair the artery, according to Buchanan.
While local law enforcement officials were continuing to investigate the reasoning behind Watty's attack on her husband, the body of Larysa West, 35, was found Aug. 9 in her Cullowhee apartment at University Inn.

Police reports indicate that West moved into her apartment on July 17 and began work at Bear Lake Reserve in Tuckasegee shortly thereafter. She was last seen Friday, Aug. 7 around 10:30 am and her body was discovered after University Inn's apartment manager smelled a foul odor coming from West's apartment around 12:30pm on Aug. 9.

According to Mark Welch, staff attorney for the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, West's death appears to be what he termed an "unattended death."
"There is nothing that would indicate homicide," Welch said. "Nothing appears to indicate a struggle. And pictures taken at the scene don't indicate anything other than an unattended death."

In addition, Welch added there is no evidence, such as a note, that points to suicide and that West's death could have been the result of an accidental drug overdose.
An autopsy was performed on West on Tuesday, Aug. 10 to determine a cause of death, but results may not be back for two or three weeks.


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