Autopsy points to hypothermia for woman found dead on sidewalk

Autopsy points to hypothermia for woman found dead on Richmond sidewalk

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(WJBK) -

The death of the 22-year-old woman found outside a Rite Aid in Richmond Saturday morning remains under investigation. Samantha Ward's autopsy was completed Monday and, while the medical examiner has not declared the cause of death, she apparently died from hypothermia.

A group of Richmond Rite Aid employees found Ward on a sidewalk in front of the drug store as they went to work that morning.  

Police say she was out at a tavern with friends Friday night. She and her boyfriend walked home together but decided to take different routes to the house where they were staying for the weekend. Police say the distance between the two places is about a half of a mile.

That was around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, and the last time Ward's boyfriend saw her alive.

Police say he went out to look for her but thought a friend had picked her up.

The medical examiner says Ward's body showed no signs of trauma but signs of hypothermia were evident.

"She wasn't dressed for the weather. No hat, no gloves, no coat, and obviously it was sub-zero weather," says Richmond Police Chief Dave Teske.

The medical examiner is waiting for a toxicology report to come back before he makes a determination on how exactly Ward died.

That report won't be available for a couple of weeks.

Ward's family was not willing to comment.

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