Though investigators had additional interviews to conduct, the answer to why and how 22-year-old Rebecca Elaine Greene died will likely come down to the results of tests to be conducted at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab, said Mike Ayers, special agent in charge of the GBI’s Athens regional office.
An autopsy conducted Tuesday evening “did not find obvious signs of trauma or anything else that suggests foul play or anyone else was involved in her death,” Ayers said.
The agent said investigators accounted for all of Greene’s personal items.
“The only thing left for us to do is some small follow-ups from an investigative point of view,” Ayers said. “We are continuing to develop a time line by talking to Miss Greene’s associates. ... The primary thing we’re waiting for now will be the results of toxicology and some other lab tests that will take a few days to get completed.”
Ayers would not say if Greene had a medical condition that possibly factored into her death.
“When actual autopsy report is complete, that will probably clear up those kinds of questions,” he said.
After Athens-Clarke police requested the GBI’s assistance in the investigation, the agency made Greene’s case a priority, said Ayers.
GBI Director Vernon Keene “threw the whole weight of this agency into the investigative portion of it to include the medical examiner’s office,” he said.
The state’s chief medical examiner, Kris Sperry, personally conducted the autopsy, according to Ayers.
“Some things are moving quickly in this case, but we’re certainly not taking anything lightly and are being as thorough as possible in anything we are doing,” Ayers said.
Greene was reported as missing Tuesday morning by her boyfriend after she failed to return home the previous evening.
According to a report filed with Athens-Clarke police, the boyfriend said he had last spoken with Greene at about 5:30 p.m. Monday when she was supposed to be at UGA’s science library. They were trying to arrange for the boyfriend to pick her up, police said, but Greene later sent a text message stating that she would either take a bus or walk home.
The boyfriend’s report did not mention Greene having a bicycle, and Ayers would not explain how the student’s bicycle wound up in the area she was found.
At about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, authorities were able to ping Greene’s cellphone signal in the vicinity of the Plaza, a street off West Hancock Avenue and not far from Greene’s home on Indale Avenue.
An Athens-Clarke police officer found the student when searching the area.
Greene’s home town was listed in the missing person report as Hortense, an unincorporated community in Brantley County about 40 miles west of Brunswick.
At UGA, she studied chemistry and philosophy. Greene previously studied at Coastal Georgia Community College and Kennesaw State University, according to her social media accounts and the police report. Greene was a certified yoga instructor and an employee of the Earth Fare organic foods market in Athens.