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Autopsy unable to reveal cause of death

November 30, 2018

STAMFORD — With the chief medical examiner’s office unable to determine the cause of death for a 36-year-old Stamford woman, police investigators continue to work on the case.

Police late Wednesday identified the woman as Olga Iris Lopez, the wife of Hector Collazo Lopez. He was held at the Bridgeport Correctional Center, unable to post a $250,000 court appearance bond after Stamford police arrested him on charges of not promptly getting medical attention for his stricken wife.

Olga Iris Lopez, 36, died at Stamford Hospital about 12 hours after she was found unconscious in the apartment of Hector Lopez’s mother in Southwood Square late Monday afternoon.

Despite finding dozens of bruises and blunt head trauma on Lopez’s body, the medical examiner’s office was unable to determine the cause and manner of her death after an autopsy Wednesday. Without that determination, police cannot be sure whether the death was an accident or a homicide as the result of criminal activity.

The determination of the cause of death is pending further study by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Detective bureau Lt. Tom Scanlon said.

Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin said he was not disappointed that the cause of Lopez’s death could not be determined Wednesday.

“We want the correct answer. We want the truth and we don’t have a problem waiting for that. A rush to judgment is not the best way to proceed,” he said.

Investigators suspect that Lopez may have been the victim of chronic domestic abuse, Conklin said.

“There are people in our community who know about this incident and perhaps other incidents leading up to this that we very much want to hear from. We want to talk to you and we will go out of our way to hear from you,” he said.

An attorney for Hector Lopez, who claims to be a personal trainer, has not yet been appointed. Lopez was unavailable for comment.

Lopez has an “extensive history” with the Stamford police department, including numerous domestic violence arrests on charges of assault, breach of peace, criminal mischief, violation of judges’ protective orders, violation of probation, stalking, threatening, creating a public disturbance and interfering with police. He has served sentences in prison as long as a year and as short as 30 days, and in some cases received suspended sentences, his court record shows.

“Lopez is also known to SPD as someone with an extensive history as a domestic violence perpetrator,” the arrest report states.

Olga Lopez, was diagnosed at Stamford Hospital with a “massive” brain bleed on Monday evening, just two hours after medics picked her up. Soon after being moved to the Intensive Care Unit, doctors told police that her life was fading fast, police said.

Hector Lopez’s mother told police that she had heard her daughter-in-law vomiting between 4 and 5 a.m. Monday, which she figured was due to heavy drinking over the weekend.

Mercedes Collazo Martinez, 60, told police that before she went to work on Monday, her daughter-in-law fell in the bathroom and complained about a headache. Martinez gave her some medication. But when Martinez came home late Monday afternoon, she found Lopez unconscious on the living room floor and called an ambulance.

Martinez said she had told her son to call an ambulance for his wife earlier in the day, but he refused, saying that he was worried that he would be blamed for her condition, a police report says.

At Hector Lopez’s arraignment Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Bruce Hudock said that Lopez remained under criminal investigation and ruled that he would be held on the $250,000 bond.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Sgt. Chris Broems at 203-977-4420.

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com

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