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Coroner: Kate Petrocco's death ruled as suicide

The autopsy report released Tuesday stated her cause of death as asphyxiation.

BRIGHTON, Colo. — The Adams County Coroner's Office confirmed Tuesday that Kate Petrocco, whose death in July caused her family to speak out about domestic violence, died as a result of suicide.

In a coroner's report provided to 9NEWS, the cause of death was listed as asphyxiation due to hanging.

Petrocco, 36, was found dead July 14 in her home in Brighton. The mother of twins was divorcing a prominent member of a Colorado farming family.

According to the autopsy report, Petrocco was found dead in her home's basement. 

Her phone was found next to her body and an investigation revealed her cell phone browsing history had several searches related to suicide.

A suicide note was not found, the autopsy report says.

The autopsy report stated that she was found by a realtor who was showing the home to prospective buyers. No defensive injuries were found on the body that indicated a struggle, the report says.

Petrocco's vehicle was located in the garage, and an open alcoholic beverage was found at the console cup holder with a wine bottle opener next to it, the autopsy report says. 

Anti-depressant prescription medication bottles were found inside her purse, the report says.

The alcohol in her system was below the legal limit for driving, and her medication was "consistent with appropriate prescribed use," at the time of her death, according to the report.

The autopsy report also says Petrocco was reportedly under the care of a psychiatrist from Dec. 19, 2016, until the time of her death. The psychiatrist saw her eight times throughout that period, where diagnoses were made that included panic disorder, major depressive disorder and concern that she may have had bipolar II disorder.

Petrocco had also reportedly had job performance issues and was in the process of being audited due to discrepancies, the autopsy report says. 

On July 11, Petrocco texted her supervisor at 7:21 a.m. stating that she would not be in because she had sick children to tend to, according to the report. Her direct supervisor reached out at 12:24 p.m., the report goes on to say, advising her that there was a meeting to discuss "check discrepancies," after which she sent a text resigning.

The autopsy report also details that Petrocco was reported to be a victim of domestic violence, with her current husband as the reported aggressor.

Multiple individuals close to Petrocco told authorities said she had mental health and substance abuse issues, according to the report.

An individual who described herself as a "best friend" claimed Petrocco had previously attempted suicide by Xanax overdose..

The coroner's office said they were unable to confirm any treatment for this particular reported overdose and her family also denied any knowledge of the alleged prior suicide attempts or ideations.

In the autopsy report, the coroner's office said her parents expressed worry that her husband or someone had murdered her. 

A Petrocco family spokesperson previously sent 9NEWS an email written by an Adams County detective who wrote Dave Petrocco Jr. is not a suspect.

“In regards to David Petrocco Jr. in no way do I consider him a suspect in her death. This incident had been investigated thoroughly and is clearly a suicide,” Detective Matthew Peterson said in the email.

But Kate Petrocco's family was determined that she would not commit suicide, the autopsy report says.

Petrocco's sister spoke to 9NEWS in August and said she didn't believe her sister would take her own life.

RELATED: What happened to Kate Petrocco?

“Part of the reason we are out here telling her story and telling what happened to her is because we, as a family, missed what was really going on," Moira Sharkey told 9Wants to Know from her home in the Boston area. "We were blinded to what was happening to her."

Sharkey added that ongoing abuse likely contributed to Petrocco’s death.

The family of Petrocco's then-husband, Dave Petrocco Jr., came forward to defend him as his prior domestic violence cases came into focus.

RELATED: Petrocco family defends son, refutes domestic violence allegations

“We’re defending our family. We’re defending my son. Everything that you’ve heard in the last couple of six weeks is lies,” Susan Petrocco told 9NEWS.

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