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Woman's death at well-known Ligonier-area physician's home labeled 'suspicious'

| Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

The death of a 25-year-old woman at the home of a well-known Ligonier-area physician has been labeled as “suspicious” by police who say they're treating the case as a criminal investigation.

Mia Vottero of Alexander Avenue, Southwest Greensburg was pronounced dead shortly after noon Friday at the home of Dr. William J. Monsour II, 53, of Shawnee Lane, Ligonier Township, according to Westmoreland County Deputy Coroner John Ackerman.

Monsour, son of Dr. Howard Monsour, one of the four brothers who founded the now-defunct Monsour Medical Center in Jeannette, operates a family practice on South Fairfield Street in Ligonier Borough.

Township police Chief Michael Matrunics said his officers obtained a search warrant for Monsour's home Friday, but would not comment further. An inventory of items taken from the home had not been filed by late Monday.

District Attorney John Peck said his office has joined the probe because of the “suspicious circumstances.” Peck would not offer additional details.

Monsour could not be reached for comment.

Vottero's body was found in a bedroom of Monsour's home, according to an affidavit filed by police. The home is located in a secluded area at the end of a long gravel driveway posted with “no trespassing” signs.

Monsour told police that he met Vottero about three weeks ago when she came to his home with a mutual friend, according to the affidavit. The two decided to go out, and he picked her up at her home on Thursday evening. They stayed at the Wicked Googly bar in Ligonier Borough until about 1 a.m. when they went to his home, according to documents.

Monsour said that when he awoke between 9:15 and 9:30 the next morning, he thought Vottero was sleeping and didn't disturb her, documents state. He said about 20 minutes later, he realized she was unresponsive and tried to revive her. When that failed, he dialed 911.

Chris Vottero, Mia Vottero's father, said he had no comment.

Dr. Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist, declined to comment on the autopsy he performed. Officials at the Westmoreland County Coroner's Office also would not release details about the autopsy.

Matrunics said officials are awaiting the results of toxicology tests, which may take several weeks to complete.

Police asked Monsour if Vottero had any medical conditions, and he indicated she has a blood-clotting disorder that required her to take blood thinners, according to court documents. Police found no medication in her purse to treat that ailment.

Police did find pill bottles in her purse containing zolpidem — a generic form of Ambien, often prescribed to treat insomnia — and clonazepam, a muscle relaxant that can cause sleepiness and loss of coordination.

Matrunics said he didn't know who wrote the prescriptions for the drugs.

In January, William Monsour filed criminal charges against his brother, Michael, after a New Year's Eve argument in which Michael Monsour allegedly bit off a chunk of William Monsour's nose, according to court records.

Michael Monsour is scheduled to stand trial in that case in February 2013, according to records.

The residence where Vottero's body was found is scheduled for a sheriff's sale in November, court records indicate. A lender foreclosed on the property after Monsour failed to pay a $540,620 mortgage, records show.

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