Preliminary report indicates woman’s death appears due to natural causes

A preliminary autopsy report indicates that natural causes appear responsible for the sudden death March 22 of Mary Elizabeth Tietjen, a staff member in the Wake Forest University biology department.

Tietjen, 30, was found unconscious in her Winston Hall office around 11:35 a.m. March 22. Shortly afterward, she was declared dead at 12:32 p.m. at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center following attempts to revive her on campus and at the hospital.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy in the case has informed University Police that Tietjen’s death appears to be due to natural causes, but he is awaiting results of routine tests that will not be available for approximately six weeks, according to University Police Chief Regina Lawson. A complete autopsy report will be provided to police when those test results are available.

Lawson said her department’s investigation has not found any suspicious circumstances surrounding Tietjen’s death.

Tietjen had been working in the biology department as a core curriculum preparator since 2003. She earned a Master of Science degree in molecular and cellular pathobiology from Wake Forest in 2002.

A funeral mass for Tietjen will be held at 11 a.m. March 27 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Leonia, N.J. A wake will be held March 25 and 26 at Patti Mikatarian Funeral Home in Fort Lee, N.J. The wake will take place from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. each day.

Categories: Media Advisory, Staff, University Announcement