Months after Moore County substation attack, woman’s death ruled homicide

The lone death reported during the onset of the power substation attacks to Moore County on Dec. 3 has been ruled a homicide by the state Office for the Chief Medical Examiner.

According to the autopsy report, Karin Zoanelli, 87, of Pinehurst died as a result of a pre-existing medical condition that required her to use an oxygen concentrator. When two Moore County power substations were attacked by gunfire on Dec. 3, power went out to nearly half the county.

Zoanelli’s home on Lake Hills Road in Pinehurst lost power like the rest of the village, and her concentrator stopped working. She was pronounced dead shortly after midnight on Dec. 4, according to the certificate of death.

The findings by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner were finalized Thursday, and amended to the death records.

The death report stated that there was an “oxygen concentrator disablement by power outage due to a firearm attack on an electrical substation.”

This update in the case came to local law enforcement through other news outlets reports on Wednesday morning.

“When we find out who is responsible for the attack on the power grid, the current ruling from the medical examiner will be taken into account and proceed accordingly,” the Moore County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The Sheriff’s Office is working alongside the FBI on investigating the substation attack. The death occurred in the village limits of Pinehurst, and was initially investigated by the Pinehurst Police Department.

“This is the FBI’s case and we are working alongside them. We talked this morning with the FBI, and we told them we would do what we can to bring wrongdoers to justice,” Chief Glenn Webb said.

Webb went on to explain the untraditional situation, with a person dying in one jurisdiction as a result of an incident that occurred in another jurisdiction.

“Once an arrest is made, we will be prepared to move forward,” Webb said.

Moore County District Attorney Mike Hardin and the district attorney’s office have been informed about the update to the case as well, Webb said.

No arrests have been made in connection to the attacks on substations in Carthage and West End that left more than half of the county without power for four days.

Moore County and state officials announced a $75,000 reward following the attacks for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for destroying the substations.

State Sen. Tom McInnis introduced Senate Bill 58, which would harshen the penalties for anyone found guilty of vandalism or attacks to infrastructure sites. That bill was passed by the legislature, and signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper in June.

Contact Jonathan Bym at (910) 693-2470 or .

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