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Chavez death hypothermia, autopsy says

Jan 10, 2017 - From staff reports

Fremont County has recorded its first hypothermia death of the season.

Autopsy reports confirm that Myron D. Chavez Sr., 49, of Ethete, died of hypothermia due to environmental exposure.

He was found Dec. 19.

Chavez was discovered after an emergency call came in at 3:30 p.m. that day from Blue Sky Highway. The exact location was redacted in county reports.

The death was labeled an accident. Toxicology testing showed Chavez's blood-alcohol content was .257 when he died.

High alcohol consumption can exacerbate the effects of hypothermia, according to published reports.

Record cold

With record cold temperatures in the region in recent days, officials hoped people would heed weather advisories and take precautions to avoid further fatalities due to hypothermia.

Bitterly cold temperature more than 30 degree below seasonal averages gripped the Riverton Valley last week and over the weekend.

A new record low for Riverton was set Jan. 6 when the low downtown hit 33 degrees below zero.

The county saw an unusual spike in hypothermia deaths in 2016, with six recorded by May of last year. At the time, Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen said it was unusual to see more than one hypothermia death each year in Fremont County.

Stratmoen asked members of the public to be aware of the danger, encouraging people to call the police if they saw someone out in the cold -- especially a transient person -- so local officials can render aid.

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