ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The family of a St. Paul man who died in the cold on New Years’ day wants others to look out for friends and family when the temperature drops. A neighbor found Mario Folkner outside around 11:30 a.m. Monday. The temperature dropped to -14 degrees overnight.
His family believes he had been in the snow all night long. Mom Cheryl Folkner wants their tragedy to prevent another.
“When you lose somebody like this, it devastates you,” Folkner said.
Cheryl Folkner was told her son celebrated the New Year with friends and at some point went outside for a cigarette. He had been drinking and she believes that makes being out in subzero temperatures even more dangerous.
“Because you don’t feel the cold, and he had a tank top on and jeans,” Folkner said.
She does not know if he passed out or if the cold got to him. She hopes her message reaches others.
“I want to get a point out to people if you’re friends go outside to smoke a cigarette or start their car, take the trash out, check on them. This weather is so brutally cold and I don’t want someone else to find their loved ones body on the ground,” Folkner said.
Folkner said her son was a father of two who took pride in working at Mama’s Pizza for more than a decade. He had found someone he wanted to share his life with. She hopes by sharing, it will make others think twice about their actions.
“I mean, it takes such a short time for somebody to lose their life in this,” Folkner said.
The Medical Examiner still needs to do an autopsy to determine the official cause of death.