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Waco police investigate the questionable death of a woman who was found dead from a gunshot wound inside a silver Kia at the H-E-B store on South Valley Mills Drive late Monday morning.

Staff photo — Jerry Larson

A woman was found dead inside a car from what police now believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the parking lot of the H-E-B store on Valley Mills Drive late Monday morning, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.

A person discovered the woman inside the car shortly before noon and called police when the woman did not appear to be alive outside the store at 1821 S. Valley Mills Drive. Swanton said police and fire crews searched the parking lot and found the woman dead in the car on the far east side of the property.

"Officers arrived on scene and we did find one female in a car, by herself," Swanton said shortly after the woman's body was found. "It appears that she has a gunshot wound and at this point, we are considering this a questionable death."

Police believe the car was in the parking space since at least Monday morning. Swanton said preliminary information indicated the woman's death may be a possible suicide.

Swanton said police have a preliminary identification of the woman, but have been in contact with her family. Police did not release her name pending notification of family.

An automobile locksmith service was called to the parking lot because the vehicle appeared to be locked. Swanton later confirmed the woman's car was locked and police located a gun inside the car. 

McLennan County Justice of the Peace Fernando Villarreal pronounced the woman dead Monday afternoon. He requested the woman's body undergo an autopsy, Swanton said.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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