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The death Thursday of a 49-year-old woman in her two-story home is being investigated as a possible homicide by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department.

A team of investigators headed by Sheriff John Bentley and Undersheriff Jerome Ernewien said the "unattended" death of Rebecca A. Nicholson, 7605 Prospect Road, appeared "suspicious."

Her body was discovered at 11:45 a.m., but no details were released.

An autopsy was scheduled for today in the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, Sgt. James Tytka said.

The area around Ms. Nicholson's house was roped off as investigators searched the home for evidence and talked to neighbors and relatives.

Relatives said Ms. Nicholson lived in the house with a brother who is blind as the result of a brain tumor.

Neighbors said she had a grown daughter and had been married twice. Investigators said they were told that Ms. Nicholson had worked as a ward secretary in an Erie, Pa., hospital and more recently as a part-time employee at the Job Corps camp near Cassadaga.

The Sheriff's Department said Mike Nielson, one of the county's coroners, was working on the investigation, and the district attorney's office in Mayville has been notified.

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