87-year-old woman found dead in backyard, possibly due to cold

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office is investigating a possible cold-weather death.

87-year-old Dorothy "Dot" Schneider was found in her backyard near 91st and Locust just after 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 28th.

Officials say she was pronounced dead at the scene. She had a body temperature of just 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

An autopsy will be performed on Wednesday, January 29th.

Mike Demski says he has known Schneider ever since he moved into his home near 91st and Hadley.

"It's a loss. She's one of the original neighbors in this neighborhood. She grew up here as a little girl. Her parents built the home. She knows everything about everyone around here. Sweet old lady. Sad to see this happen to her," Demski said.

Demski says he spoke with members of Schneider's family after she was found.

"They told her to please not take her car out for errands, especially during this cold weather. But she was a little headstrong and I think wanted to just not bother people and get a quick errand done. But, sadly it didn't work out," Demski said.

Ruth Busalacchi owns Synergy Home Care -- a company that helps families with their elderly loved ones. With the extreme cold, her caregivers have been busy.

"Our caregivers can actually do a face-to-face and make sure that everything is going well. We're making phone calls. We're going down our list of clients that we might be concerned about and making sure they are doing okay. Caregivers are going to those visits rather than cancelling," Busalacchi said.

Demski says he would periodically check on Schneider -- but says he hadn't during this extreme cold spell.

"It's a hard lesson for us all to learn to keep track of everyone and don't assume everybody's okay. Make sure. Double check. Ask if you can help," Demski said.

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