MODESTO — An autopsy was conducted Monday on the woman who had been missing a month before her body was found last week, but police have not said how she died.
Modesto police over the weekend identified Eldoris Graham of Modesto as the woman found buried in a shallow grave under the footbridge across the street from Johansen High School. On Monday, police did not respond to multiple inquiries about Graham's cause of death, how long she'd been dead, where she died or how she came to be buried under the bridge.
Police also have not said whether her boyfriend and the last person known to have seen her alive, Anthony Coxum, is a suspect in her death or disappearance.
Coxum remains incarcerated in North Carolina on an unrelated charge of probation violation. He was found in North Carolina on Dec. 27 with Graham's car, two weeks after she went missing.
Mother convinced of foul play
Graham told her mother she was going out of town to the Bay Area with Coxum. Investigators questioned him about Graham shortly after she was reported missing and his version of events repeatedly changed, police said.
Graham's mother, Kathie Patterson, is convinced Coxum is responsible for her daughter's death. Police have no record that the relationship was violent, but Patterson said Coxum was abusive and had threatened to kill Graham the day before she last talked with her daughter.
On Dec. 13, Graham left a message on her mother's phone that she has played over and over again to try to get answers about what happened to her daughter.
"Hey, mommy, this is me. I'm calling to let you know I am going out of town for a couple of days. We decided to get away. We are both stressed out," Graham said in the message.
After playing the message for The Bee on Jan. 3, Patterson said, "I can hear the fear in her voice. I can hear that she was crying. I am her mother."
A man's voice is heard at the beginning of the message, which Patterson says is Coxum's, saying, "Go ahead."
"He was coaching her like he had her phone and let her talk, and that is what her friends were saying, is that he would let her talk and tell her to get off the phone," Patterson said.
Co-worker says boyfriend 'controlling'
Eileen Ortega, a co-worker of Graham's at the Burger King in Salida, said Coxum often would call Graham while she was at work. He would say it was an emergency and demand to speak with her, Ortega said.
"She always talked about how controlling her boyfriend was," she said.
Family members and friends of Graham's laid roses where Graham was found under the pedestrian bridge over the weekend.
A teenager at the site Monday said students who live in the area often jump over the sound wall as a shortcut between the school and the neighborhood behind the bridge. If Graham's body was buried there the day she disappeared, they would have been walking near it since returning from winter break last week.
Sacramento television station CBS 13 reported Sunday that the woman who made the call that uncovered Graham saw an arm protruding from the earth under the bridge.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter, @ModestoBeeCrime.