Elderly woman dies of hypothermia after trying to rescue husband

Putnam woman freezes to death

An elderly woman died from hypothermia after trying to rescue her wheelchair bound husband.

According to Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills,the incident happened outside of the couple's home at 135 Flat Rock Circle in Putnam County. 

Sheriff Sills says the incident happened shortly after 5:30 p.m. Wednesday evening. 86-year-old Roy Riffe was heading to a private shop building near their house when his wheelchair ran off the walkway. Riffe screamed for his wife to help when he could not get up.

His wife, 74-year-old Maria Riffe rushed to help her husband, but she fell off the walkway before reaching him.

The couple was found around 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning in their yard. Sheriff Sills says they were about 20 yards apart from each other and the husband was found turned over in his wheelchair.

Maria Riffe, only had on a house coat and died from hypothermia. Roy Riffe had on a jacket along with fleece pants and survived the incident. He was transported to Putnam General and was still hospitalized as of Thursday night, but is expected to recover.

Sheriff Sills encourages everyone to check on elderly neighbors regularly, especially with the recent cold temperatures. 

 


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