Tragic loss of reporter
Authorities in Wisconsin are investigating what appears to be the accidental death of former TV news anchor Asa George, who graduated from the University of Texas and once worked at Austin’s 24-hour news channel.
On September 6, George was found dead in her apartment in West Allis, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee. Police discovered her decomposing body in a water-filled bathtub.
“The house was messy and covered with blood and feces, and a malnourished boxer dog was in the home,” according to Dayton, Ohio, TV station WHIO (CBS). George had previously worked in TV news in Dayton.
Positive identification of George, 34, was delayed until September 12 as investigators awaited dental records from Ohio, according to media reports.
Firefighters entered her locked apartment through a window. According to the Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office report, George’s father had been trying to contact her for four days with no luck, reports WDJT (CBS) in Milwaukee. George’s aunt then called West Allis police and asked them to check on her niece.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a final ruling on the cause of George’s death will depend on pending results of toxicology tests. The medical examiner’s office says her death was most likely accidental but wasn’t caused by drowning or a cut to her head.
West Allis Police Chief Charles Padgett told CultureMap Austin that it would take roughly six weeks for the toxicology tests to be completed.
Relatives told investigators that George had battled alcoholism for years, according to the Milwaukee newspaper. Two empty vodka bottles and several prescription medications were found in her apartment.
George’s father did express concern to investigators about foul play being involved “because his daughter had spoken of some kind of harassment,” the Milwaukee newspaper reported.
George launched her TV journalism career in 1999 at News 8 Austin, the 24-hour news channel now known as YNN. According to her LinkedIn profile, she worked at News 8 from 1999 – the year the channel went on the air – to 2002. Among her positions there were reporter, associate producer and photographer.
George earned a journalism degree from UT in 2001, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Since May 2012, George had been at freelance TV reporter in Milwaukee. From 2010 to 2011, she was a morning news anchor at WDJT in Milwaukee. She was a reporter and anchor at WKEF (ABC) and WRGT (Fox) in Dayton from 2004 to 2009. After graduating from UT, George landed at KLKN (ABC) in Lincoln, Neb., where she was a reporter and anchor from 2002 to 2004.
Gery L. Deer, editor of The Jamestown Comet in Ohio, wrote that he knew George during her time in Dayton.
Deer recalled that George was an avid animal lover who volunteered for the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, serving as an emcee for local events and even fostering a puppy. For three years in a row, she hosted the Dayton group’s Furry Skurry and Hairball fundraisers.
“I had the privilege of knowing Asa George, but only for a very short time. She was always pleasant, fun and thoughtful, a credit to our profession,” Deer wrote. “In light of this terrible tragedy, I hope she finally has peace and wish for everyone to keep her memory bright and honor her life. She will be missed.”