Maggie Daniels, a popular North Carolina school counselor, apparently fought for her life before she was strangled, Newton Police Chief Donald Brown told ABC News today.
Police are also looking at what they believe are "selfie" photos in the suspect's phone that may detail injuries he allegedly suffered as a result of Daniels' efforts to fight him off, an officer told ABC News.
Sharmon Odom, 34, is charged with the murder of Daniels, 31. Odom didn't answer any questions as police took him to jail on Saturday, but had a smirk on his face. Odom, who lived in the same apartment complex as Daniels, appeared in court today.
"She died of strangulation," Brown told ABC News. "There was a struggle... We think that she fought back when Sharmon Odom attacked her in her unlocked apartment.”
A search warrant obtained by ABC News indicated there were signs of a violent struggle in Daniels' apartment as she fought to live. Several items in her apartment were damaged, the search warrant said, but did not say what was damaged. She was found dead on June 28. Major Timothy Hayes of the Newton Police Department told ABC News that investigators believe Daniels' body was found a day after she was killed.
The warrant said there were three pictures taken on June 28, the same day Daniels' body was found, in Odom's phone. The photos showed a scratch on his right nostril and a scratch below his left eye, and the report said the scratches appeared to be "fresh," according to the warrant.
A patch of hair was also missing near Odom's scalp when police interviewed him, the warrant states, and a patch of hair was later found inside his closet in a shoe box.
“It did appear that Sharman Odom was taking selfies on the day Maggie Daniel’s body was discovered,” Hayes said.
No motive was mentioned in the warrant.
“There is no indication showing that they [Daniel and Odom] knew each other before this,” Hayes said. He also said there was no indication that Daniels was sexually assaulted.
“We are still waiting for the autopsy report to come out,” Hayes said.
Odom did not enter a plea today.
Before her death, Daniels served as a counselor at Discovery High School in Newton, a 13,000-population town located northwest of Charlotte.