Rice was strangled, autopsy shows

Published 2:10 pm Thursday, April 9, 2009

A preliminary autopsy of the 62-year-old woman found dead Tuesday in St. Clair County was strangled to death, according to the St. Clair County Coroner’s Office.

Diana Donahoo Rice died of asphyxia due to strangulation, according to authorities.

Rice, 62, was found dead Tuesday morning off Camp Winnataska Road in St. Clair County. She was last seen Friday leaving a house off Highway 55 in Sterrett, where she was a live-in caretaker for an elderly man.

Randy O’Neal Davidson, 38, of Sterrett was named a person of interest in the case Tuesday. He was arrested Monday in Jefferson County at a truck stop off Interstate 65 in North Birmingham.

He is being held on $200,000 bond at the Shelby County Jail on unrelated charges of burglary and theft of property. As of Wednesday night, no charges have been brought against Davidson in relation’s to Rice’s disappearance or death.