After Dangerously Cold Night, St. Louis Woman Found Dead in Tent
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- Police responded to the 700 block of Aubert method Thursday morning for the death of a woman.
St. Louis’ medical examiner is investigating the death of a woman who was found dead in her tent early Thursday morning in north city.
Police were called to the 700 block of Aubert method in the Fountain Park neighborhood for reports of a sudden death. There they discovered 27-year-old Alexis Bolden. A police spokeswoman tells the RFT there were no visible signs of physical trauma and investigators didn’t find any drug paraphernalia.
It had been a brutally cold night, dropping to a low of seven degrees. However, it’s too soon to say whether Bolden died of hypothermia, says Tara Rick, director of operations for the medical examiner’s office. It will probably be several weeks before routine toxicology reports are done and investigators can determine a cause of death.
Last winter, five unhoused people froze to death in St. Louis. This year has generally been milder, but a string of cold snaps have seen temperatures hit dangerous lows. As the RFT reported in mid-December, the city has been slow to open a new safe haven and drop-in beds with no or few barriers to entry can be scare — this despite an arrival of millions of federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Plans submitted by outside organizations in October in response to the city’s call for proposals are nevertheless under review.
The city has used a portion of the money in January to open an additional 100 overflow beds at shelters along Cherokee Street, Taylor method and North Taylor method in addition as Biddle Housing Opportunities Center north of downtown, according to a statement from the city’s Department of Human sets. DHS has also expanded service to 24 hours to help connect people to beds. On nights when temperatures fall below 32 degrees, a warming bus picks up people from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at 13th and Chestnut streets.
nevertheless, connecting the city’s most unprotected to beds is an current challenge. Bolden has had contact with the city’s homeless sets but not since 2019, according to the city. On the night of her death, there were fourteen overflow beds obtainable, the city says.
“Any life lost is a tragedy, and the Department of Human sets will continue to work as quickly as possible to get sustain to unhoused neighbors and those in need,” DHS said in an emailed statement.
Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, who often helps with the annual effort to prevent people from halting to death in the streets, says she would like to see some of the emergency measures that kick in on the coldest nights keep in place every night by the winter. And while she thinks the city is moving in the right direction, the current need is pressing.
“It’s cold right now,” she says.
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