MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Duluth Police Department has reportedly closed the case of a 19-year-old college freshman found unconscious on a neighbor’s porch.
That student, Alyssa Jo Lommel, is in critical condition, being treated at Regions Hospital in St. Paul for frostbite and severe hypothermia. Lommel’s family said she may lose her hands and feet because of the extent of her injuries.
It was minus 18 degrees when she was found Saturday morning. The wind chill was minus 36 degrees. Lommel had been dropped off at her own home more than nine hours earlier. Authorities in Duluth released their report of the incident Wednesday morning, providing more details of what happened.
Police were called to the area of Woodland Avenue and College Street at about 9:36 a.m. last Saturday after a woman found Lommel sleeping outside on a porch. She was breathing, shaking, her hands were swollen and white and she was unconscious. Fire officials, when arriving to the scene, said Lommel was “stiff as a board and extremely cold.”
Authorities said her hands were swollen to about three times the size of a normal person and her skin was extremely white in color, according to the report. When authorities found Lommel, she was wearing Ugg light boots, blue jeans, a sweater and a medium light jacket in dangerously cold weather.
Police said in the report they tracked prints from her boots to a single car garage door where it is believed she sought shelter in the cold. A neighboring home is where UMD basketball players live, but they were on the road for an away game and not home.
The report said Lommel, a UMD student, was out with friends the night before and told three men she wanted to be home around midnight. The three men picked her up from a house party between 11:30 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. and dropped her off at her house, but left before they could see her enter the house. One of the men told police she had been drinking, but she hadn’t been drinking any more than usual and she didn’t show signs of intoxication. Her friends told police she “wasn’t falling down drunk.”
In the report, police were able to track a tweet Lommel put on Twitter earlier that day, around 2:30 p.m. which stated, “Yum Yum 10th shot of tequila.” Earlier that night, the report said Lommel and her friends were picked up and taken to a nearby house to play drinking games.
Lommel’s roommates told police she told them that she was having some “boy troubles” and was “going to get very drunk that night,” according to the report.
The police report indicates Lommel had been drinking for about six hours before she was dropped off.
According to the report, one of Lommel’s roommates told police she was home when Lommel was apparently trying to get into the house. The roommate said she had been working at Target, got home at about 8:30 p.m. and was very tired. The roommate told police she watched a movie until about 1:30 a.m., when she went to bed. The roommate told police she didn’t see or hear anything the entire night.
Adam Pederson, a recovering addict and now a manager at the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, says he had an experience similar to Lommel’s.
“One night I left under the influence of alcohol, and I woke up six hours later in a snow bank two miles from where my car was parked having no idea how I’d ended up there,” he said.
Pederson hopes other college students will learn from Lommel’s tragic story.
“That’s what we have to see it as,” he said. “As an opportunity to grow and learn and hopefully, it doesn’t have to happen to someone else.”
He said that when your blood alcohol level rises, your blood becomes thinner, giving your body a false sense of warmth.
A fund has been set up to benefit the Lommel family. Donations can be sent here:
Alyssa Lommel Fund
1100 West St. Germain
P.O. Box 847
St. Cloud, MN 56302-0847
PHONE: 320-255-7164 or 1-888-450-3300