(This story originally appeared in the Bradenton Herald)
MANATEE — The body of a 45-year-old woman was found in her garage Monday evening in what the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is calling an accidental death.
Though the woman’s name was not immediately released by deputies, family members at the scene in the 6300 block of 11th Street Court East in Bradenton identified her as Tracy Hamilton — a woman who worked two jobs, loved her family and God.
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Detective Ben Main, who was at the scene, said deputies found the woman dead in her home.
“The fire department responded. They found a large amount of carbon monoxide in the house,” Main said. “There’s indication that a car was running in the closed garage and, at this time, it doesn’t appear to be anything criminal or suspicious in nature.”
The woman was found alone in the home, the detective added.
“At this point it appears to be an unfortunate accident,” Main said.
Pockets of family members and neighbors stood yards from the home, which by Monday evening was roped off by investigators with yellow crime scene tape.
“She was just a joyful person to be around,” said Hamilton’s stepfather, Kenny Dixon. “She called me every other day, just about.”
The 57-year-old gestured toward the crowd of people at the scene.
“You see all these people out here — these are mostly her friends and family members,” he said. “They loved her.”
By day, Dixon said Hamilton worked as a home health aide and by night she worked at a nursing home. She would rest in between jobs during the day.
“She probably was tired and left it running and probably was trying to cook something,” Dixon said. “That’s what I understand… it was definitely an accident.”
According to Karanja McDuffie, who dates Hamilton’s niece, Hamilton loved taking care of people.
“We’re distraught. We talked to her everyday,” the 28-year-old said. “She’s not the type of person that commits suicide — that’s way out the window. This is such an accident, we know it is. That’s why we’re not feeling like we are upset or angry at anybody because we know this is an accident.”
McDuffie said he knew Hamilton’s spirit.
“She believed in God and she talked about Him all the time,” he said. “She was a high-spirited person… even when she was having a bad day, she’d say ‘I know it’s going to be alright ’cause God got me.'”