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Authorities unsure if death related to fire
Woman, 62, died 11 days after mom
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How to help

Gospel Baptist Church is collecting donations for the Pope family. The church is at 680 Harmony Church Road, Dawsonville. A list of the family’s needs is available by calling Jennifer Newkirk at (678) 858-2582. Bank accounts have also been set up in the name of Martha and Larry Pope at Bank of the Ozarks and SunTrust.

Officials are awaiting autopsy reports to determine if a Dec. 16 fire is responsible for the death of a second woman.


Dawson County Coroner Ted Bearden said Martha Pope died in her sleep Monday morning, 11 days after a fire at her home on Pinewood Trail claimed the life of her mother, Rosie Lee Holtzclaw.


“We’re trying to determine if her death had anything to do with the fire,” Bearden said. “We won’t know until we receive the autopsy report.”


The exact causes of death for both women are pending autopsy results, which he said could take up to three months.


Pope, 62, was one of 10 members of her family, including seven children, who escaped the blaze that destroyed the home.


Holtzclaw, who used a walker, was trapped in a bedroom before emergency personnel pulled her from the fire.


Billy Thurmond, director of Dawson County Emergency Services, said Holtzclaw was the only person treated at the scene.


“The others didn’t request any care,” he said.


Holtzclaw was later pronounced dead at Northside Hospital-Forsyth.