Police release name of man found dead in Lawrence hotel room, say he died after fight with female acquaintance

Lawrence police said a 52-year-old Lawrence man found dead at a Lawrence hotel Tuesday died from injuries suffered in a domestic incident with a female acquaintance earlier in the day.

Late Thursday afternoon, police identified the man as Donald E. Wiggins.

Sgt. Matt Sarna, a police spokesman, said a 42-year-old Lawrence woman also was hurt during the fight. Sarna would not say where or what time the altercation occurred.

Police were called at 9:10 a.m. Tuesday to the Howard Johnson Hotel, 2222 W. Sixth St., after someone found Wiggins unresponsive.

After Wiggins’ body was discovered, officers located the woman, Sarna said. He said police were not called to the earlier altercation between the two and, when she was found, the woman declined medical attention.

The woman has not been arrested pending further investigation, Sarna said Thursday, and he said details would eventually be forwarded to the district attorney’s office for a decision about any formal charges.

“Detectives from the Lawrence Police Department are working closely with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office and the Douglas County Coroner’s Office to determine the exact cause of death,” Sarna said.

Officers are also still interviewing potential witnesses and asked anyone with information to call police at 785-832-7650 or Douglas County Crime Stoppers at 785-843-TIPS (8477).

In a somewhat similar case in March 2010, Douglas County prosecutors ultimately decided not to file charges against a 36-year-old man who was arrested after officers found 46-year-old Douglas Fleming dead at his Old West Lawrence home. Fleming and the man were involved in a fight two days earlier, and Fleming died from a head injury, police said.

District Attorney Charles Branson said after reviewing the case there were insufficient facts to establish probable cause that a crime occurred. The 36-year-old man had told officers he was attacked by Fleming and had defended himself.