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Deadly winter weather: Peoria woman dies in unheated home, coroner and neighbors react

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For those without heat, this winter weather can be deadly. That was unfortunately the case for one Peoria woman, found dead in her home by police on Tuesday.

Police responded to East Melbourne avenue for a welfare check and found 80 year old Joyce Hexdall, her cause of death, significant cold exposure with signs of frost bite.

"It's going to be very individualized per person about how long until that sets in. It can happen really fast especially in elderly and infants. Half an hour outside especially exposed, you're going to start to have symptoms for sure." said Peoria County Coroner, Jamie Harwood

"Some shivering, you might feel cold and have some judgement that might get impaired. Those symptoms progress to where you're short of breathe and now you have confusion, you might lost consciousness, your heart rate slows. That's when you're in trouble when it comes to hypothermia." explained Harwood

Unfortunately, the home had no working furnace or heat source. Something neighbors are saddened by. Wishing they could have made a difference.

"She kept to herself and I didn't know that she didn't have any heat. If we would have known I would have helped." said Melbourne avenue resident Alex Arregyn

"My suggestions would be to find a warming center, find a shelter you can go to. We absolutely don't recommend heating your house with a stove or anything like that." said Harwood

This tragedy, motivating neighbors to do their part to not let this happen again.

"Check on the elderly, especially if you have an old neighbor or something, family or mom, dad, check on them because it's rough out here." said Arregyn

This is the first cold weather related death in Peoria in 2020 according to Harwood and he hopes it will be the last.

Kaitlin Pearson

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