Update: Man initially charged in wife’s murder found dead

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – UPDATE: Charleston Police have confirmed Frank Cantley has been found dead of an apparent overdose.

Few details have been released at this time, we are working to gather additional information and will bring it to you as we learn more.

ORIGINAL STORY: Prosecutors have dropped a murder charge against a Charleston man accused of strangling his wife to death.

According to the prosecuting attorney’s office the state moved to dismiss the matter at this time after the Office of the State Medical Examiner ruled it needed more time to determine the forensic cause of Stephanie Cantley’s death.

The following came from a press release from the prosecuting attorney’s office:

“While the initial criminal complaint indicates the defendant made a statement to police, the State may not proceed until the case is determined to be a homicide.  The Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will await the results of the still pending investigation.”

On July 13th, 2019, Kanawha County dispatchers received a 911 call in regards to a reported overdose in the 1000 block of Tinder Ave.

Charleston Fire and Police Departments responded and found, Stephanie Cantley, 39, deceased on the living room floor. The 911 call had been made by her husband Frank Cantley, 44. Police say based on the victim’s injuries and evidence found at the scene, it was determined that Cantley had not overdosed but had died due to being strangled.

According to police, during their investigation, they learned that Frank and Stephanie were arguing. That’s when police say Frank grabbed Stephanie by the neck and started choking her until she went unconscious. Frank then placed the 911 call stating Stephanie had overdosed.

Since an additional examination is needed to determine the forensic cause of Stephanie Cantley’s death and it can’t be done before Frank Cantley’s preliminary hearing scheduled for July 23rd the state is dismissing the current matter and will take steps after the medical examiner releases new findings.

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