Kingsport murder victim identified

Rain Smith • Aug 9, 2018 at 11:21 AM

KINGSPORT — Following the completion of an autopsy, investigators have positively identified the woman found bludgeoned to death last week in her boyfriend’s apartment.

On Thursday morning, police named the deceased as Mary A. Danner, 68. A week prior, her body was discovered inside the residence of Sammy R. Sandidge, 67, at Maple Oaks Apartments.

According to a court affidavit, Sandidge struck Danner in the face multiple times with an oxygen tank, then stayed with her body for several days. To cover up her disappearance, he allegedly told neighbors that she was with family in Pennsylvania, then he went to stay with friends.

But last Thursday, Maple Oaks employees were conducting maintenance checks. When they entered Sandidge’s apartment, they were “overwhelmed by a bad smell” and backed out.

The workers called police, who discovered Danner’s body and launched an investigation. Court records state that after speaking with neighbors, officers determined Sandidge was likely responsible for the murder. He was quickly located in Lynn Garden and taken to the police department for questioning.

Sandidge allegedly stated that he and Danner were arguing about her wanting him to move with her to Pennsylvania. Sandidge didn’t want to go, according to his account, but she persisted.

Because he “could not listen to her hassle him anymore,” according to police, Sandidge repeatedly hit her in the head with the oxygen tank, then watched her take her last breaths.

An investigation is continuing at the Kingsport Police Department. Police have yet to state exactly when the slaying occurred and when Sandidge allegedly abandoned the body in his apartment. He reportedly told investigators that he left it after three days. 

Sandidge was charged with first-degree murder and held on $250,000 bond. In court on Thursday, he waived the right to a preliminary hearing. The date of his next scheduled court appearance was not immediately available.  

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