Heat Related Deaths

Heat Related Deaths
By:  CJ Cassidy

Cape Girardeau, MO -- Preliminary autopsy results are in on Glenda and Clarence Rogers, the elderly mother and son found dead inside their Cape Girardeau home Wednesday evening.

Coroner John Clifton tells Heartland News, the deaths are heat related and there is no evidence of foul play.

A very close friend of the Rogers says, the home the mother and son lived in was very old, so they decided not to install air conditioning inside, because they weren't sure if the wiring would hold up.  Instead they suffered in silence, like most Heartland residents.

Christy Parr says, with her air conditioner on it's her last legs, it's been so hot inside her home she's worried about the effect the heat might have on her three year old daughter.  "She won't go to sleep at night unless I put her in a tub of cold water," Parr says.

Parr says Wednesday evening's deadly discovery came as a wake up call.  That's after preliminary autopsy results showed the deaths were heat related, but police say, there were also other factors that may have contributed to the extremely high temperatures inside the home.

"It appears the residents sealed up the windows because of an asthma condition with the son who lived there I guess they believed that would help them," Patrol Jason Selzer with the Cape Girardeau Police Department says.

"There's a lot of people don't like to come up and ask," Tina Rodgers with the Salvation Army says.  She adds you'd be surprised how many people choose to suffer in silence.

And while not everyone who asks for a fan or air conditioner will get one, Rodgers hopes groups like hers will help cool down those who need it the most.

"If you know people who need fans, and they don't want to speak up make the contact for them," she says.

For more information contact your local Salvation Army.   

Police found out about Glenda and Clarence Rogers because a friend of the family checked in on them yesterday.

Coroner John Clifton asks everyone to stay alert during summer heat waves. He suggests, mail carriers inform authorities if it looks like someone hasn't checked their mail in a while.

He also says newspapers stacking up on someone's door step could be a sign something might be wrong inside.

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Heartland Heat Deaths

Heat Safety Tips
  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
    • Infants and young children
    • People aged 65 or older
    • People who have a mental illness
    • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

Source:  CDC