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Teacher's death is ruled a suicide

Three months ago, the sudden death of a popular teacher stunned students and other staff members at Perkins Elementary School.

There seemed to be no explanation for how 28-year-old Kathleen Davis died at her home in Seminole.

On Friday, the mystery came to an equally unsettling end.

Laboratory tests showed that Mrs. Davis died of an overdose of aspirin in what the Medical Examiner's Office considers a suicide.

Although she had been vomiting in the hours before her death April 19, Davis still had the equivalent of 22 325-milligram tablets in her system during an autopsy, said Larry Bedore, the medical examiner's director of operations.

Pinellas County sheriff's investigators found no note or aspirin bottle at the Davis house, and the teacher's husband said Friday he would contest the suicide ruling.

"I just don't believe it. It was not in her nature," said her husband, Robert Davis, also 28.

"There was no aspirin bottle in the house. There was no aspirin bottle in her purse. Not in her car. Not in the trash," he said. "Where in the world is the aspirin bottle?"

The suicide ruling was based in part on what Robert Davis told a friend, according to sheriff's reports and autopsy records. Davis told investigators that his wife had indicated she had taken a "few" aspirin, records show. But a family friend quoted Davis as saying his wife had indicated she had taken a "bottle," records show.

The Davises had been having marital problems and attending counseling for four months.

On April 18, Davis was spending the night at his mother's house when his wife called to say she was feeling ill and had taken "some" aspirin, Davis said. She asked him to come home and care for their two sons _ 1-year-old Ryan and 2{-year-old Patrick.

When he arrived, Davis said, he slept on the couch while his wife spent most of the early morning in the bathroom. She finally had showered and climbed into bed when Davis awoke about 6 a.m.

Davis set out a bottle for Ryan and helped Patrick get ready for day care. His wife indicated she was feeling better but was tired.

Late in the morning, Davis began calling the house to see whether his wife was feeling better. He got no answer. He tried again several times throughout the day, but could not reach her.

Finally, about 5 p.m., he went home and found her dead in the hallway between the kitchen and bedroom. Ryan had been given his morning bottle, but was still in his crib.

Despite the medical examiner's ruling, Davis said suicide seemed unlikely.

"There's no way in the world she would have done that and left the baby in the house," he said.