Olivia Benito left a neighbor’s house after a brief visit this weekend, but she never made it back to her home just two houses away — and it appears she may be a victim to the brutal weather conditions sweeping across the area.
Police in New Jersey said the 66-year-old woman was found frozen to death in the snow near her home on Sunday morning. Benito was last seen at a neighbor’s house, where she stopped to have a few drinks after attending a benefit at an Elk’s Club in Lakewood, New Jersey.
Benito left the neighbor’s house at around midnight, but the neighbor found her face-down in the snow the next morning at about 7 a.m.
Police said there were no signs of trauma or foul play in the death of Olivia Benito. Officials noted that it reached about 10 degrees in Lakewood on Sunday morning. The death remains under investigation.
New Jersey and the entire Northeast region are in the midst of a cold snap that has seen record low temperatures across dozens of communities.
In New Jersey, authorities have warned residents to stay in their homes with wind chills that forecasters described as “potentially life threatening.”
“Hazardous wind chills could cause frost bite and possibly hypothermia if exposed to for more than a brief period of time,” the National Weather Service noted.
The area also saw strong winds on Sunday, with some downed power lines in areas.
NJ.com noted the following.
“According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in the state will likely range from around 1 below to about 5 degrees above zero for most of the night, with strong winds making it feel about 20 degrees colder.
The service has issued a wind chill advisory for the area until late Monday morning, and warned residents to only venture outside in case of an absolute emergency.”
Olivia Benito was not the only casualty of the bitter cold condition in New Jersey. In Sayreville, a 19-year-old driver was left in critical condition after crashing his car during a heavy snowfall.