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Officials Identify Woman Found Hanging From Tree in Simi Valley

A woman found hanging by a rope from an oak tree in south Simi Valley has been identified, and an autopsy has confirmed her cause of death was asphyxiation by hanging, authorities said Friday.

The body of Eileen R. Gilliland, 38, was found about 6:45 p.m. Thursday by two people driving on Runkle Ranch Road near Fitzgerald Road and Sequoia Avenue, Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Kenney said.

An autopsy Friday confirmed the cause of death, said Jim Wingate, an investigator for the Ventura County medical examiner’s office. Funeral arrangements are pending.

The case has been ruled a suicide, Deputy Coroner James Baroni said. Sheriff’s deputies did not find a suicide note, but learned that Gilliland had been despondent over marriage troubles. Her husband has been living in Santa Cruz with the couple’s children, Baroni said.

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Deputies originally believed that Gilliland had been dead for more than a day, but Wingate said she had been spotted alive about 2:45 p.m. in the area where she died.

Although gated private property, Runkle Ranch Road is a popular path for hikers. The area sits at the lip of a large canyon containing Runkle Reservoir.

Gilliland drove to the area and then parked and locked her vehicle outside the gated roadway.

Gilliland lived on Chelsea Court, about two blocks from where she was found.

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