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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Online petition to reopen 2009 death of Sarah Fennell nears 2000 signature mark

The Facebook group “What Happened to Sarah Fennell of Fort Smith” has over 1,900 signatures on a petition requesting officials to reopen the investigation into the young woman’s death.

Shortly after 3 p.m. on Jan. 25, 2009, Fort Smith police were dispatched to an area hospital emergency room for a battery report, and that is where the story of the death of Sarah M. Fennell begins.

The events leading up to her death have left her family and the community mystified and angry. It started with dinner at an area restaurant with her boyfriend, Adam Kuettel, and ended with her bruised and unresponsive in the emergency room.

Adam Kuettel

According to a police report from the Fort Smith Police Department dated May 13, 2009, statements from the boyfriend indicated they went to dinner the night of Jan. 24. According to the boyfriend’s statements in the report, she drank too much and passed out when they returned home that evening.

According to her family, Sarah’s death was listed as natural causes despite the medical records and hospital records that indicated Sarah had been physically abused before her death.

In the police report, Sarah’s boyfriend, Adam, stated that when she passed out, she was completely unresponsive, and in an attempt to wake her up, he called her family in Tennessee in the hopes that the sound of their voices would wake her.

Friends and family alike were baffled that he hadn’t called 911, and it would be several hours before Sarah would finally start receiving medical treatment.

In the 2009 police report, police noted, “Ms. Fennell had bruising all over her body and appeared to (have been) in a fight.” It was noted in the same report that Sarah had scratches on her chest and shoulder, and her right hand was ”... red and swollen, as if it had been broken, but X-rays showed that it was not.”

The boyfriend, Adam Kuettel, also had scratches, and his eye was swollen shut.

According to Kuettel’s statement to police, he claims Sarah had a lot to drink, though, according to a statement from hospital personnel taken by police included in the report, ”... the drug and alcohol screens both came back negative for Ms. Fennell.”

A spokesman for “What Happened to Sarah Fennell of Fort Smith” had this to say: “Our goal is to bring awareness and justice to Sarah Fennell. Her death investigation needs to be reopened… and we have almost 2,000 signatures from all around the United States of people who stand with us in this request.”

To date, the investigation has been ignored, as have all inquiries to the Sebastian County Prosecutor’s office.

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