By Ben Flanagan

An exact cause of death has yet to be determined for the two women who died in Lake Tuscaloosa last week, but authorities are looking into the possibility the women died by electrocution, according to police.

Shelly Darling, 34, and Elizabeth Whipple, 41 were found dead in Lake Tuscaloosa early Saturday morning after they were reported missing by family members. Autopsies on the two women are being performed on Monday.

Foul play is not suspected, according to Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit Capt. Kip Hart.

Hart said during a press conference Monday morning that while there had been speculation and some information that there may have been electrocution or some type of electricity involved on the boat dock or surrounding water, investigators “are not 100 percent sure” this is what caused the deaths.

He said they will continue researching that theory to determine what exactly happened to Darling and Whipple.

Hart said a Tuscaloosa investigator was shocked during the initial search at the scene on Saturday but was not injured.

“We know there was electricity going through at least part of the pier,” Hart said. “We’re waiting on full report from medical examiner to determine exactly what happened.”

Whipple was the interim director of the domestic violence clinic at the University of Alabama School of Law.

Darling, a native of Vestavia Hills, was a clinic staff attorney at the University of Alabama School of Law.

“It’s a tragic situation because you have two young ladies who were very involved in the community,” Hart said. “Both of these ladies obviously touched a lot of people’s lives. I just feel for both families right now and hopefully we’ll be able to bring them some answers as to why this happened.”

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