Report: Woman probably died of exposure

Posted: Friday, April 07, 2000

A preliminary report shows Elisabeth Nye, a severely depressed woman whose body was found Thursday, died of hypothermia.

Nye, 50, had been missing since Sunday evening. An extensive search for her ended shortly before noon Thursday when her body was found on Third Street.

A passer-by spotted the body of a woman wearing a black print dress under a narrow, wooden boardwalk next to a downtown apartment house. About 15 minutes later, Juneau police responded and identified the body.

Nye's remains were flown to the state medical examiner in Anchorage to ascertain the cause of death. The autopsy was conducted this morning, with Alaska State Troopers in attendance, said police Lt. Ron Forneris.

``There were no obvious signs of injury, no obvious signs of foul play,'' Forneris said today.

Preliminary autopsy results showed hypothermia was the likely cause of death. A final conclusion will be made after further tests are conducted.

``We want to check everything out and narrow down the cause as much as possible,'' Forneris said.

Police believe Nye crawled under the boardwalk and was there for some days - probably since shortly after her disappearance. Her body was found close to the Juneau Alliance for the Mentally Ill center that she left barefoot on Sunday.

She was the subject of an intense air and ground search by the police, troopers and a number of volunteer agencies. JAMI staff climbed to the top of Mount Roberts looking for her, and also made themselves available 24 hours a day. Several friends of Nye also assisted.

Marcia Nye, Elisabeth's sister, expressed her thanks to all who searched and to all who wished Elisabeth well.

``We would like to thank the community for the outpouring of support for Elisabeth,'' Marcia Nye said. ``In particular, Sgt. Will Ellis of the state troopers, the search and rescue groups, the SEADOGS, the Juneau police and the many friends and family who continued to support the search.''

``Elisabeth was a pure and loving spirit who touched everyone who ever met her with her ability to see only goodness in everyone,'' Nye said. ``She was devoted to her son, her mother and family. Lis will be remembered by us as a wise and intelligent woman who never lost her child-like joy and love of God's natural world.''

Services will be announced Sunday.



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