Woman, 90, freezes to death outside SW MI home

Southwest Michigan

FABIUS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A 90-year-old woman died this week after getting locked out of her Three Rivers-area home in the freezing cold.

Ada Salna was found dead around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday on the steps of her home on Kurzeme Road near Long Lake in Fabius Township. It’s a fairly isolated property and on Friday, it was clear the driveway had not been plowed since the snow started at the beginning of the week.

Western Michigan University pathologist Joyce deJong said Salna died of hypothermia.

Salna had gone outside to feed the birds and her cats and got locked out. She cut herself while trying to break a window to get back inside, and deJong said blood loss contributed to the death.

Nieghbors told 24 Hour News 8 Salna kept to herself and may not have spoken English well.

Salna had last been seen alive around 4 p.m. Tuesday. It’s unknown how long she had been outside when her body was found, but it was covered in snow.

Jennifer Hoekstra, an injury prevention specialist with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital says hypothermia can set in in minutes.

“The temperatures being as low as they are and have been can be very, very life-threatening to people who are in the elements too long,” she said.

Storm Team 8 says the temperature in Three Rivers Tuesday afternoon was only 8 degrees, and it dipped as low as -15 before Salna’s body was found. Wind chills were between -40 and -45.

“All in all, throughout al of these cold temperatures for every age, it’s really important to limit the time that we’re outside, to cover up exposed skin, and to make sure we’re prepared with the correct clothing when we head outdoors,” Hoekstra advised.

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