The death of a Fauquier County journalist is being investigated as a homicide after her body was found in her Upperville home following a fire Monday, authorities said.
Firefighters responded to the home of Sarah Libby Greenhalgh, 48, who wrote for The Winchester Star and equestrian publications, after a witness reported seeing smoke coming from her residence around 8 a.m., according to the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office.
Greenhalgh’s body was found as firefighters battled the blaze at the home, which is on a farm on Dunvegan Drive. Greenhalgh lived alone in the rented home, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Lt. James Hartman, a spokesman, declined to say where her body was found in the home, but he previously told other media outlets it was discovered in a back bedroom.
Hartman also declined to say what led authorities to believe Greenhalgh’s death was suspicious. A state medical examiner was performing an autopsy on Greenhalgh’s body on Tuesday.
Maria Hileman, the managing editor at The Star, said Greenhalgh had covered Frederick County government for the newspaper for about a year.
“She had a lot of very good friends at The Star that are very sad,” Hileman said. “She’s a loss to the journalism world. She was a very tenacious and good reporter.”
Before coming to the newspaper, Hileman said Greenhalgh worked as an enumerator for the U.S. Census Bureau and at another newspaper in Florida.
Hileman said Greenhalgh was at work on Friday and attended a wedding on Saturday, but did not report for work on Monday. Hileman said she and her colleagues had no clues about what happened to Greenhalgh.
“It’s a huge mystery,” Hileman said.