Last Updated: Monday, May 15, 2000, 3 p.m.

Mourners gathered outside a Palo Alto funeral home
where music-filled memorial services were held
Saturday for teacher Kristine Fitzhugh
Weekly Photo by Robert Bradshaw

Investigation ends
at Southgate home

Palo Alto police have shifted the focus of their homicide investigation from Kristine Fitzhugh's Southgate neighborhood to a county crime lab, where technicians are analyzing evidence taken from the Fitzhugh home and surrounding neighborhood.

After one week of searching for a weapon, fingerprints, fibers or anything else that might point to Fitzhugh's killer, detectives took down the yellow police tape surrounding the Escobita Avenue home and turned it back over to the Fitzhugh family. Police would not discuss what items they had collected or confirm published reports that detectives were searching for a blunt object as the weapon.

"We're looking, obviously, for any type of weapon that could have been used to kill Mrs. Fitzhugh," said Palo Alto police Agent Jim Coffman. "What that is, I can't say. And whether or not we've found anything, I can't tell you at this point."

The police have also apparently ended their search of the Southgate neighborhood, where detectives had been questioning Fitzhugh's neighbors and looking for evidence.

Coffman said he didn't know how long the lab analyses would take or how close the department is to reaching a break in the case. "I can't even hazard a guess," Coffman said.

Fitzhugh's body was discovered by her husband and two of her colleagues on May 5, at the bottom of the basement stairs. They found Fitzhugh, a music teacher for the Palo Alto Unified School District, shortly after she missed a class that Friday afternoon. Police initially attributed Fitzhugh's death to an accident, but changed that assessment after the coroner said a fall could not have caused her head-trauma injuries.

Several hundred people crowded the chapel of Roller, Hapgood & Tinney on Middlefield Road on Saturday for a music-filled memorial service entitled "Celebrating the Life of Kristine Fitzhugh." The congregation included Fitzhugh's family, neighbors, city officials, Palo Alto school employees and members of the Ravenswood City School District, where Fitzhugh taught until last year.

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