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Woman's cause of death still unknown

It will be at least eight to 10 weeks before officials know what caused the death of a Kennewick woman found in a canal Monday.

An autopsy Wednesday did not determine what killed 46-year-old Denise Cole, said Benton County Coroner-elect John Hansens. He is acting as the deputy coroner until Saturday.

There were no signs of trauma to Cole's body, he said, adding that now they will have to wait for toxicology test results.

Dr. Daniel Selove, a forensic pathologist from Everett, performed the autopsy.

Cole was found in a Columbia Irrigation District canal near 36th Avenue and Gum Street in Kennewick. She was face down in about a foot of water and 5 inches of mud, police said.

The water temperature was estimated to be about 40 degrees.

Kennewick police detectives are continuing to try to track down information about Cole's last hours, including who she had seen last and where she was headed, said Sgt. Ken Lattin.

No one had reported missing and it's not known if she had been staying around the area where she was found. Lattin said Cole has had a multitude of addresses and appeared to have no permanent home.

Officers were able to tentatively identify her based on items she had with her, which led them to find a picture that helped confirm who she was, he said.

Cole, who has a history of drug convictions for possessing methamphetamine and heroin, was also known to some officers.

She was positively identified Tuesday after officials with the coroner's office were able to contact relatives, who live out of the area.

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