Pharos-Tribune

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May 29, 2014

2 deaths at western Indiana home from hypothermia

TERRE HAUTE (AP) — A couple whose bodies were found in a rural western Indiana home died this winter from hypothermia after they chose to live without electricity, authorities said.

The Vigo County coroner ruled that the deaths of 51-year-old Daniel Young and 53-year-old Donna Young were accidental. Police found their bodies in late April after a relative called concerned about their safety because no one answered the door at the home and they hadn't been heard from for an extended amount of time.

Coroner Susan Amos told the Tribune-Star she believes the Youngs died in February and that nothing unusual was found in toxicology tests.

"They were so cold, their bodies stopped working," she said.

Sheriff's Chief Deputy Clark Cottom said investigators found that the couple declined assistance in November to keep electricity turned on to their house in a rural about 10 miles south of Terre Haute.

"It was their choice not to accept assistance from outside agencies and the utility company," Cottom said.

The Youngs survived the previous winter without electricity, but it was milder than this past winter when temperatures fell below zero frequently in January and February, he said.

Deputies found a gas-powered generator in the garage that was turned off. Both Youngs were wearing winter clothing, and Daniel Young was found wrapped in blankets.

The couple, who had six children, lived in a house built on the site of a December 2004 fire that killed one child. Another child sustained serious burn injuries in that fire, but survived.

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