A Maine woman’s death in Florida last weekend may be linked to a gunshot wound she suffered in a home invasion in Portland two months ago.

Darien Richardson, 25, died in Miami Beach late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. A preliminary conclusion by the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office indicated a blood clot had blocked a vital artery, and that the clot was the result of the gunshot wound she suffered Jan. 8.

Richardson was one of two residents who were shot by intruders at 25 Rackleff St. She was wounded in the upper thigh and thumb, and a bullet grazed the man she was with in the upper arm. Two other people who were in the apartment escaped injury.

The victims said they didn’t know their attackers and nothing appeared to have been taken. After the shooting, Richardson was treated and released from Maine Medical Center.

Police said the gunmen knew the layout of the apartment, and shot both victims as they lay in bed. Investigators believe the attack was connected to drug dealing, but Portland Police Chief James Craig said Wednesday that there was no indication Richardson was involved with drugs.

Craig said the case is still being investigated and that police are drawing no conclusions about the cause of Richardson’s death until a complete autopsy has been reviewed by the medical examiner in Florida.

If Richardson died because of the gunshot wound, it could increase the severity of the charges against the intruders, if they are caught.

“At this time it’s premature to even talk about the medical stuff,” said Deputy Attorney General William Stokes.

Stokes said that to prove a charge of murder, the state must show that someone caused the chain of events that led to death, even if other factors may also have contributed to the death.

“Obviously, whoever did this used deadly force,” Stokes said. “It was done with the intent to cause death, or done knowing when you fire a projectile at somebody they could die.”

A pulmonary embolism, cited by the medical examiner in Richardson’s case, typically occurs when a blood clot forms in the large veins of the legs, which can happen after surgery and extended periods of bed rest.

The clot is later dislodged, sometimes by sudden activity, then gets lodged in a pulmonary artery, blocking blood flow. It can cause sudden death.

Richardson grew up in South Portland, where she was frequently on the honor roll and competed as a swimmer before graduating in 2002. She later graduated from Bowdoin College and worked in the insurance industry.

She apparently was on vacation in Florida when she died.

 

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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