An investigation is underway after an elderly couple was reportedly found dead in a sweltering room at an Arizona retirement facility.
Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) deputies discovered the bodies of Keith and Connie Cox during a welfare check on Friday. Authorities believe their deaths were heat-related as air conditioning at the Apache Junction home appeared to be broken. PCSO spokeswoman Navideh Forghani claimed fans in the residence were on their highest setting, according to the Associated Press.
“I can’t imagine what the temps were inside that residence,” PCSO Sgt. Phillip LeBlanc told KNXV. “I know the deputy said it as 109 on the thermometer on his truck.”
Residents told the Phoenix station that managers at Palma Del Sol East are typically quick to address air conditioning issues. KSAZ reported that the facility serves seniors ages 55 and older.
The Coxes supposedly died on the sixth day of temperatures surpassing 110 degrees. The Across Arizona Patch pointed out that the county’s Department of Public Health has investigated 27 heat-related fatalities since April.
During a heat wave especially, Sgt. LeBlanc advised others to check on elderly neighbors and relatives several times a day. The sergeant mentioned how easy it is to succumb to high temperatures once dehydration sets in.
“There was some time people had not seen them…they had not seen movement around the house and they requested us to check and at that point it was just too late,” he said.
While a preliminary report indicated that heat was a contributing factor, the Medical Examiner’s Office is currently determining Keith and Connie’s exact cause of death.
[Featured Image: KPHO (screengrab)]