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Stone Cause of Death Expected in Coming Days
Written by Kelly Chandler Staff Writer

VA doctor cleared alleged murderer week before killings  

                The Montgomery County Coroner said a cause of death for Bradley Stone is expected within the week as details around the former Marine's final days emerge.

                Stone, who allegedly killed his ex-wife and five of her family members before killing himself last week, sparked a manhunt in Pennsburg and surrounding communities that led to the lockdown of parts of the borough as tactical teams and dozens of law enforcement agencies, including federal marshals and the FBI, sought him out. 

                Some residents were evacuated from their homes, while others were advised to "shelter in place" while authorities looked for Stone, who was reportedly armed with multiple weapons.

                A contentious custody dispute, in which Stone filed an emergency order seeking custody of his two daughters with ex-wife, Nicole Hill Stone, was likely his motive behind the killings, speculated the Montgomery County DA's Office.  Stone was denied custody through that petition, officials said. 

                Stone's body was found last Tuesday afternoon in a wooded area in Upper Hanover Township, between Western Auto at 1523 Pottstown Avenue and the rear of the 1400 block of W. 4th Street in the borough.  According to Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Walter I. Hofman, his body could have been at the scene for approximately 12 hours.

                Reports, which have not been substantiated by the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, stated that two medicine bottles were found near Stone's body and a white powdery substance was found on a drink bottle at the scene. 

                Hofman stated Stone's body, while it did sustain a laceration to the leg, did not sustain deep lacerations to its center, as was previously stated by county District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman as the likely cause of death.  

                Hofman said a toxicology report is being expedited and will likely come sometime this week.   

                According to a statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs obtained by the Town and Country, Stone was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was "100 percent service connected disabled" for the condition as of Oct. 2010. 

                He was receiving more than $3,000 per month in benefits, the statement said.

                Three days before the attack, Stone appeared at a Veterans Justice Outreach Program event Dec. 12. 

VA officials stated Stone met with a psychiatrist on Dec. 8 at the Coatesville facility and the provider noted that, at the time of the evaluation, Stone was "without any suicidal or homicidal ideation."

                The statement went on to say Stone was receiving care at several VA facilities, including the Coatesville VA Medical Center, Willow Grove Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, Norristown Veterans Center Philadelphia VA Medical Center and the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center in New Jersey.

                The statement said the department is conducting a comprehensive review of Stone's care.

                "The Department of Veterans Affairs expresses our heartfelt condolences to the victims killed in the tragic incident.  We are committed to providing the highest quality health care to veterans," the statement read.

                While Stone didn't see combat during his time deployed to Iraq in 2008, officials said he was accurately diagnosed with PTSD. 

                In the past year, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which classifies mental disorders for the American Psychiatric Association, changed its criteria for PTSD.  It no longer requires that a person must have been in a life-threatening situation.

                A prayer vigil is being held at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 81 N. Main Street, Pennsburg, on Sunday, Dec. 28, from 2-3:30 p.m. to remember the murder victims, Stone's nephew, Anthony Flick, who survived and is still hospitalized, as well as Stone's two daughters and son.   The victims of other violent crimes worldwide will also be remembered.

                A community vigil was held Monday night at Souderton High School to remember student Nina Flick and her family members.





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