An 86-year-old Post Falls woman was found frozen to death Tuesday after she fell on the steps of her home, according to county officials.
Katherine M. Kea was found dead by her son-in-law who had come for a visit at about noon, according to a Kootenai County sheriff’s report.
The woman forgot to take a medical beeper with her that would have allowed her to alert health professionals when she had trouble, said Lt. Nile Shirley.
“It was a horrible, unfortunate accident,” said Jody Deluca, Kootenai County chief deputy coroner.
Kea walked outside of her home on East Mullan Avenue in Post Falls sometime between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, according to the sheriff’s report.
Detectives do not believe she planned to go far because she had not dressed for the weather.
It appears Kea, who walked with a cane, slipped while walking down several snow-covered steps. Bruises and cuts on her body indicate that she struggled to get up but could not, Shirley said.
The woman’s driveway is secluded, preventing neighbors from seeing her struggle.
Family members told authorities Kea suffered from a heart condition, diabetes and emphysema and subscribed to the Medical Life Line program in case she fell ill while no one was around. However, she often left the alert device in her bedroom.
Shirley and Deluca warned people of all ages with medical conditions not to leave their alert devices behind.
“If they have a medical beeper, I would certainly recommend that they take them with them everywhere because they never know when they might need them,” Shirley said.