Vermont authorities have identified the victim of a “suspicious death” that occurred on a popular trail. The victim, now identified as 77-year-old Honoree Fleming of Castleton, Vermont, lost her life to a gunshot wound to the head, with her death confirmed as a homicide.

Who was Honoree Fleming?

Honoree Fleming was a resident of Castleton and shared her life with her husband, Ron Powers, an acclaimed author who has received both a Pulitzer Prize and achieved New York Times bestselling status.

Fleming formerly served as the dean of education at what is currently recognized as Vermont State University’s Castleton campus and was held in high regard by faculty, staff, and students, according to the statement. State police Capt. Scott Dunlap also verified her previous association with the university.

Fleming, aged 77, was identified as the victim of a “suspicious death” in Castleton, Vermont. She suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head, and her death was officially ruled as a homicide.

The incident unfolded on Thursday near the Vermont State University, Castleton campus, prompting a shelter-in-place order for the campus community. As a result of the ongoing death investigation, the school remained closed on Friday, with all scheduled events canceled.

“A shelter-in-place order continues for anyone who is on campus,” the school announced on its website, urging campus members to monitor their email for updates and information on counseling resources.

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The Vermont State Police swiftly responded to the Rail Trail near 1587 South St. in Castleton around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, following a call reporting a deceased woman in the vicinity. Upon their arrival, troopers located Honoree Fleming and pronounced her dead at the scene.

A witness had reported hearing gunshots before spotting a possible suspect walking northbound on the trail toward the university campus. In response, the Vermont State Police conducted a thorough house-to-house canvass of the area near the Rail Trail that Thursday night but were unable to locate the individual in question.

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“We have no idea where this gentleman, the suspect, took off,” stated VSP Maj. Daniel Trudeau on Friday.

The witness described the person seen near the campus as a White male with short, dark hair, standing approximately 5 feet, 10 inches tall. The individual was reportedly wearing a dark gray T-shirt and carrying a black backpack.