MEDFORD, Ore. — Neighbors are shocked to hear a man they have lived next to for fifteen years was found dead outside his home after suffering hypothermia.
Jackson County Sheriff’s Officers responded to at least the second death from hypothermia in the past few weeks. The elderly man was found lying on the ground outside of his south Medford home early Tuesday morning.
Medford reported 21 degrees as a low on Tuesday morning, so when the 86-year-old man was found lying on his front lawn, neighbors suspected the worst. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office says that it was actually even colder in the victim’s home, he’d apparently turned his heater off.
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call around 9 a.m. that a naked man was lying in the front yard with the front door of the home open. Officers determined it was the homeowner, 86-year-old Harry Henderson. He was not breathing when deputies arrived.
Medical experts have already determined he died of hypothermia. Lieutenant Pat Rowland with Jackson County Search and Rescue said it is not uncommon for hypothermia victims to be found with no clothes on.
“They strip down, and that’s the worst thing you can do is strip down. The cold is going to react to your body, your body is telling you one thing. What happens is your internal clock on the inside, your temperature goes down. Your core temperature goes down,”
explained Lieutenant Rowland.
People living nearby say Henderson was a good neighbor who mostly kept to himself and could be seen getting his newspaper in the morning. Henderson’s family says the house was in need of updates, but he was stubborn about preserving the home that has been in his family for years. Family members say Henderson’s death is a shock and he will be missed.