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Elderly couple found dead in Ash Fork front yard likely died from hypothermia

Posted at 5:09 AM, Dec 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-09 09:37:02-05

ASH FORK, AZ — A tragic and deadly discovery in an Ash Fork family’s front yard.

An elderly couple, identified as 74-year-old Richard Alexander, and his wife, 79-year-old Elizabeth Alexander, found dead likely from hypothermia after being buried under snow. Detectives told the homeowners their car was one mile away.

The discovery began Friday with Mike and Diane Haas heading out of their home and noticing two figures in their yard. They approached, hoping for the best.

“He wondered if they were sleeping, so he got out and yelled at them and they didn’t respond,” said Diane.

“I said 'Sir, sir!' And of course they didn’t respond. It came pretty obvious pretty quick, their skin color and other details that they were deceased. So we immediately called 911 and made sure not to touch anything,” said Mike.

The man and woman victims were in their 70’s, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives told the Haas’ they lived nearby and their car got stuck last week as Ash Fork was getting 10 inches of snow.

“Eventually they decided to leave their vehicle,” said Mike.

The front porch light was the only one the desperate couple could see.

“They were headed to our house we believe. But 100 yards short,” he said.

For Mike and Diane, it is emotional to think the couple was suffering so close, while they were celebrating thanksgiving.

“It’s sadness,” said Mike. “You wish you could’ve helped. You could’ve saved a life perhaps. Maybe two lives.”

The homeowners told ABC15 the husband was laying on top of his wife, possibly trying to keep her warm.

“It’s terrifying to think that she might’ve been alive under her husband,” said Mike.

The Haas’ say the tragedy is a reminder to always be prepared during extreme weather.

“If they hadn’t left their car, I really believe somebody would’ve checked on them. People drove by them but everybody assumed this was somebody who got their car stuck, they called and got rescued. Nobody would’ve ever thought that they were out here struggling,” said Diane.

A spokesperson for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office sent ABC15 the following statement:

“Just after 1 pm today, 2 bodies were discovered off of Crookton Road in Ash Fork - YCSO detectives, along with an investigator from the Yavapai County Medical Examiner's Office, have been on scene throughout the afternoon. A PRELIMINARY finding shows no evidence of foul play and a strong likelihood the pair, a man and woman in their 70's, died from exposure to the environment. The time of death has not been established. Further updates are pending the medical examiner's report.”