Police rule pregnant Knoxville woman's death a homicide

Police rule pregnant Knoxville woman's death a homicide

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Brittany Sherwood Eldridge (source: Facebook) Brittany Sherwood Eldridge (source: Facebook)

By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knoxville police said Wednesday the death of a pregnant woman is a homicide.

Brittany Sherwood Eldridge was more than eight months pregnant when her body was found Tuesday by her mother in Eldridge's unit at Cross Creek Apartments.

Police originally called the death suspicious

After an autopsy, police spokesman Darrell DeBusk released a statement saying, "Investigators conducted several interviews today and expect to interview additional people as the investigation continues. The cause of death is not being released at this time due to the ongoing investigation."

No arrests had been made by late Wednesday. Police wouldn't say if anyone had been ruled out as a suspect.

Julia Bartmess, a friend of Eldridge, says family and friends are struggling to understand why anyone could have killed her.

"It's important for me to know what happened because she was so close to me so long ago," Bartmess said.

She grew up with Brittany Sherwood playing soccer and participating in the performing arts program at Austin-East High School.

Brittany and Julia had not been in close contact recently, but Bartmess was shocked and sadden by the loss of her longtime friend.

"She would have been a fantastic mother," she said. "She is so beautiful and just absolutely irreplaceable. She was so excited about having a baby, you know. Her whole family was very excited about it. Her friends were excited about it, and she would have been the best mother possible."

Bartmess described Brittany as someone who always had a smile on her face and made others happy. 

"I think we take for granted a lot of the time people that are close to us and that we haven't caught up with recently," Julia said, as she wiped away tears. "We always tell ourselves, you know I'll catch up with them later. You take it for granted they're always going to be around, and things can change in a matter of seconds."

Now Julia wants justice for her friend and answers. "It's kind of that closure kind of thing that we need so that we can celebrate her life, and celebrate what kind of wonderful, irreplaceable person she was."

Bartmess also expressed interest in getting to know who Brittany was recently spending time with in hopes of gaining clarity about what happened.

"I think a lot of people regret not asking her more questions, and not keeping in touch more closely with her because I think we all kind of feel a little guilty that maybe if we'd been a little more intrusive, maybe we'd be able to help her out," Bartmess said.

Brittany Eldridge worked at Clayton Homes. Her employer also released a statement to 6 News Wednesday:

"We are saddened to learn of the death of Brittany Eldridge, a fellow team member within Clayton Homes. Because of an ongoing police investigation, we are not commenting further on details regarding this tragic loss other than to say we grieve with her family and loved ones." - Sharon Kenned, director of Human Resources

Brittany Eldridge was divorced from Terry Wayne Eldridge in July. The reason given on court documents was "irreconcilable differences."

According to court records, there was no fighting over money or property in the divorce. Terry Eldridge could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Police have not released any information about Brittany Eldridge was dating someone else or if they have any persons of interest.

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