Woman dies after being found in freezing weather outside Iowa assisted living facility

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 3:49 PM EST
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BONDURANT, Iowa (KCCI) - Iowa authorities are calling the death of a woman at an assisted living facility “suspicious” after she was found outside in below-zero temperatures.

Polk County deputies responded to the Courtyard Estates at Hawthorn Crossing, an assisted living facility for people with dementia, Friday morning when the low temperature was minus-9 degrees.

“Everything there on scene will be taken into consideration, including the bitter cold temperatures,” said Lt. Ryan Evans with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Evans said the woman was conscious and being treated inside the facility when deputies arrived, but she later died at the hospital.

Authorities have yet to reveal a cause of death, and the woman’s name was not released by Tuesday morning.

A report from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals states the facility was fined $1,500 in the summer of 2020 after someone on the staff noticed a resident was missing. The man, in this case, was returned by police, and a nurse was shown how he exited the door and climbed over a fence.

The department requires assisted living programs for people with dementia to have an operating alarm system on each exit door.

Department workers were at the facility Tuesday investigating.

“To have this exact situation happen is not common at all,” Evans said. “Our investigators are really getting involved in it. This isn’t going to be a prolonged event, I would say. They really want to figure out why this happened. If there’s any criminal aspect to it at all, the charges could go, I suppose, neglect of a dependent person if they in fact were dependent.”

Evans said the assisted living facility has been cooperative in the death investigation.

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