MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 32-year-old woman was found dead just feet from her Lakeville doorstep and authorities now believe hypothermia might be to blame.
Andrea Marker was found by her sister Tuesday afternoon lying just in front of the home she shared with her parents, who were out of town.
Her mother said she had a history of struggles with alcohol. Just two days earlier, police she was taken to Fairview Riverside for an evaluation because she was so intoxicated.
An autopsy is being performed, but so far there has not been an official cause of death. Moreover, toxicology test results, which would show if alcohol played a role, generally take weeks.
Police say there is evidence that Marker had been outside for as long as 20 hours. They also said the snow banks made her body difficult to see from the street.
“Due to the fact that there was no school [Tuesday]…reduced the amount of traffic in the area, so she was not readily visible,” said Interim Police Chief John Kornmann.
Marker had taken off her coat and much of her clothing, a phenomenon known as paradoxical undressing, which is seen in hypothermia cases.
Two days before at 1:30 a.m. police had been called to the home for a domestic disturbance. Police say Marker had drunk so much alcohol they feared she was a danger to herself and brought her to Fairview Riverside.
“She had been placed in Fairview Riverside on a mental health and welfare hold two days prior to…[Tuesday’s] incident,” Kornmann said.
A spokesperson for Fairview said they could not comment.
Marker’s driving record shows three DWI convictions. An online resume said she had worked most recently at a Lakeville restaurant that closed late last year.
She also worked at Bumpers in Burnsville once a week. A co-worker there described her as extremely quiet. Her resume also says she had been certified in safe alcohol sales.
“This is extremely tragic, and we do want to see if we can determine what caused her to be out in the extreme cold,” Kornmann said.
Police say even if someone had spotted her first thing Tuesday morning, it would have likely been too late. They believe she had been in the cold much of the night when the overnight low was 15 below zero and wind chills were down to negative 30.