This story is from NewsChannel 9
SODDY-DAISY — The woman who claims a Hamilton County Deputy baptized her in Soddy Lake as a way to get out of a ticket was found dead in a residence in Soddy-Daisy Wednesday night, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).
A TBI spokesman says Hamilton County deputies found the body of 42-year-old Shandele Marie Riley at a home on Log Cabin Road.
The Hamilton County Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy. The TBI tells us they will wait until that is complete before determining whether foul play was involved in Riley’s death.
Riley’s attorney Robin Flores also confirmed her death.
Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston requested the TBI investigate Riley’s death.
Riley made headlines in 2019 when she sued Hamilton County Deputies Daniel Wilkey and Jacob Goforth claiming they baptized her in Soddy Lake after a traffic stop. Wilkey also faces criminal charges.
Riley at first pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance after what happened the night of her arrest. But in November of 2019, District Attorney Pinkston’s office set aside Riley’s guilty plea.
Last week, a judge responded to Goforth’s request to drop some of the claims Riley made in the suit.
Judge Travis McDonough wrote “No government interest is furthered by the baptism of a detainee by an on-duty law-enforcement officer.” To the contrary, Judge McDonough wrote “[i]t is beyond dispute that, at a minimum, the Constitution guarantees that the government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise, or otherwise act in a way which establishes a state religion.”