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Woman found dead in freezing, abandoned Lorain home

By Robin Goist • Feb 1, 2019 at 10:00 AM

LORAIN — While ensuring abandoned homes were empty Wednesday morning amid sub-zero temperatures, a Lorain Building Department employee found a 60-year-old woman who had died in a freezing cold house, according to Lorain police.

A building inspector discovered the woman, who has not been identified, just after 9 a.m. Wednesday in a vacant house on the 2100 block of Elyria Avenue, police said.

Officers arrived and found the woman in a bed in an upstairs bedroom, according to a police report.

The building inspector told officers he recognized the woman but did not know her name. He said he told her about a year ago that the home was unsafe to occupy and instructed her to leave the property, according to police.

There was snow inside the house which had no heat, and “everything in the house was frozen solid,” the police report says.

There were no signs of foul play, police said.

The woman was believed to have died of hypothermia, Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans said.

“There’s just no way if you’re not near a heat source that you can survive for very long out in weather like this,” Evans told the Chronicle-Telegram newspaper.

Meanwhile, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office released the identity of a man found dead in the freezing cold Wednesday morning behind a Euclid school.

Alan Anderson, Jr., 59, of Euclid, left a rehabilitation center some time late Tuesday or early Wednesday and was found dead hours later about two miles away, according to Euclid police.

Staff at The Willows Health and Rehabilitation Center reported Anderson missing just before 2 a.m. Wednesday after he was absent during a routine check, Euclid police spokesman Lt. Mitch Houser said previously.

It appeared that he left the building through an open bedroom window, Houser said.

A security guard found Anderson around 8:30 a.m. behind Euclid Preparatory School on Euclid Avenue near East 230th Street, Houser said. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

An employee at The Willows visually identified Anderson as the man who was missing, Houser said.

An administrator at The Willows, a skilled nursing facility, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Anderson’s cause of death is still pending, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office. Police do not believe foul play was involved, Houser said.

Temperatures plunged below 0 degrees Tuesday evening as the polar vortex descended upon the region.

Wind chill values on Wednesday hovered between 25 to 35 degrees below zero, dipping as low as 40 below. The National Weather Service describes such conditions as potentially deadly.

The Arctic-like temperatures that paralyzed the U.S. Midwest are being blamed for at least 21 deaths, including these two cases in Northern Ohio.

Elsewhere, an 18-year-old University of Iowa student is believed to have died from the cold, according to a Reuters news report written by Jonathan Allen.

The student, Gerard Belz, was found unresponsive on campus early Wednesday morning just a short walk from his dorm, according to university officials. The wind chill at the time officers found Belz was minus 51 F, according to the National Weather Service.


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