How Did Debra Bridgewood Die? – On July 6, 1984, Colorado Springs 911 operators received a panicked call alerting them to a burning body. Debra Bridgewood was still alive when the police arrived on the scene, but she shortly passed away from her wounds at a nearby hospital.
The horrifying occurrence is detailed in the Investigation Discovery documentary “Homicide Hunter: Hot on The Trail: A Burning Mystery,” which also shows how the victim’s one word led to a shocking discovery. Let’s investigate the matter in greater detail to learn more, shall we?
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How Did Debra Bridgewood Die?
Debra Bridgewood, who frequently went by the name Laura Smalls, lived in Cherry Point, North Carolina, with her family. She was a student at the University of Colorado and was only 20 years old when she was killed. Despite having a good relationship with both her mother and sister, Debra was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder and was receiving treatment for it, according to the television program. However, many who knew her characterized her as a compassionate individual who cherished friendships.
On July 6, 1984, Debra was discovered by the police, who discovered that her body had been doused in gasoline before being set ablaze. The gasoline can was found next to the burn victim, and authorities immediately moved Debra to the closest hospital. When she was at the hospital, Debra was able to tell officers her identity and the words “Cherry Point.” But before she could add anything else, the 20-year-old died from her injuries because they were too severe.
The police initially started searching for a criminal going by the moniker “Cherry Point,” but they soon found it was actually a location. Officers also learned that a Cherry Point family had reported Laura Smalls missing after doing more research on the community. Unexpectedly, Debra’s and Laura’s descriptions matched, so the police called the family to come to identify the body.
Debra’s family discovered that she had a long-standing dissociative identity disorder after they traveled to Colorado Springs and recognized the body. In fact, Debra’s illness was so severe that she frequently appeared to be debating other voices in her head. However, the prospect of homicide remained, so the police decided to find out where the gasoline was purchased.
The victim’s body was discovered nearby, and it was interesting that when the police inquired at a store, the proprietor revealed that a girl had come in to buy an identical can of gasoline. To everyone’s surprise, the owner’s account of the client revealed that Debra had purchased the fuel herself. However, the proprietor also mentioned that Debra was in a trance and speaking to herself throughout the transaction.
Detectives came to the conclusion that Debra had dissociative identity disorder, and one of her mental identities had caused her physical body to burn itself. In the end, the authorities were able to successfully close the case and determine that Debra’s death was caused by self-immolation.