Hypothermia caused 2 recent deaths in downtown Atlanta

Traffic built on the Downtown Connector on a snowy Wednesday morning.

Combined ShapeCaption
Traffic built on the Downtown Connector on a snowy Wednesday morning.

In the past three weeks, Atlanta police have responded to two deaths that were caused by hypothermia.

In each case, the bodies were found wrapped in blankets in downtown Atlanta. Police said the man and woman, found weeks apart within a mile of each other, were both homeless.

The most recent death was discovered three days ago. An officer arrived to the loading docks of the 15 Lower Wall St. parking garage Monday to find a man "wrapped up in blankets with just his jeans on and no shirt," according to an incident report.

The man seemed to be “frozen stiff” and may have died from hypothermia, the report said. The person who notified police said he saw the man sleeping two days before finding him unmoving Monday morning; it's not clear when the man died.

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Less than three weeks earlier, on Dec. 29, an officer stopped to check on someone who was sleeping on a city sidewalk near Memorial Drive and Pryor Street. The officer said the woman, wrapped in several blankets, wasn’t breathing.

A Fulton County medical examiner arrived and found in a prelimary check that the 59-year-old may have died from hypothermia. The agency confirmed that hypothermia was listed as the cause of death in both cases.

Police did not release the names because next of kin had not been notified.

This week's snowfall brought about new concerns for the homeless population exposed to the cold. At least six people have reportedly died of hypothermia in Atlanta since Dec. 1.

Police responded to a report of a non-responsive person at the downtown Atlanta intersection of Hill Street and Bell Street Wednesday, but later said they were able to the find the person in question “alert, conscious and breathing.”

Officers are “on alert for homeless individuals exposed to frigid temperatures” to give them information on available shelters, according to a spokesman. The department’s Homeless Outreach Proactive Engagement team officers also check on the homeless and offer them rides to shelters or the city’s warming centers, he said.

Three warming centers were open Thursday at the Central Park, Grant Park and Old Adamsville recreation centers in Atlanta, the city said.

Anyone in need of a ride to one of these facilities can call 404-546-2710.

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