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Death ruled natural after purported beating

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published December 18, 2012 at 1:38 p.m.

— The cause of death has been ruled natural for a paraplegic Maumelle man who died Sunday, a week after he told investigators he was beaten.

Little Rock Police Department Sgt. Cassandra Davis said in a statement that 51-year-old Robert Lee Hepp did not suffer any injuries contributing to his death in the purported beating.

"Detectives will continue to investigate and turn the file over to the prosecutor to determine if there is evidence of the crime of Battery to an individual who is defined as incompetent," Davis wrote.

Police were called Dec. 8 to the Hospice Home Care Facility at 2200 S. Bowman Road to investigate how Hepp had received injuries that were said to be life-threatening.

Police said Hepp told them he was attacked Dec. 5 during an argument at 18 Bay St. by a woman later identified as 32-year-old Katie Forte. He said she knocked him from his wheelchair and stomped on his legs and torso numerous times.

"He went home after the attack and he did not realize how badly he was injured until a family member took him to Baptist Hospital," Davis wrote.

Police said they have not obtained a statement from Forte, but she will not be charged in the death since it was ruled natural.

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