'Perfect example of a grandma': Belleville woman dies from hypothermia

News-DemocratJanuary 22, 2014 

Belleville Police believe an 83-year-old woman suffering from dementia likely became confused in the cold before she slipped and fell behind a West Belleville business.

Roxie L. Simpson, was found dead at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday behind a business, B-One Car Entertainment, 1820 W. Main St. She lived about 10 blocks away.

A preliminary autopsy revealed that Simpson died from hypothermia, according to a news release from Detective Sgt. Mark W. Heffernan.

Simpson also suffered some injury believed to be the result of a fall. She had been diagnosed with dementia.

She lived alone, but had family members who live nearby.

Police believe Simpson walked away from her home and became confused in the cold.

St. Clair County Deputy Coroner Dan Haskenhoff said Simpson was seen alive by her daughter about 11 p.m. Monday. Simpson had been at her daughter's home, which is two doors away from her home. Haskenhoff said Simpson's daughter watched her safely walk home Monday night.

Robert Holmes found the body Tuesday morning behind his shop, B-One Car Entertainment.

"I just walked out back to pull a car in and I noticed, it looked like something buried in the snow, like a trash bag or something," he said.

"It was fresh snow, everything was white," Holmes said.

So he used his boot to move the snow and was startled to discover a body. He immediately called the police.

Police had asked for the public's help Tuesday to identify the body.

On Tuesday night, family members filed a missing person report that matched the description of the body found by police.

Family members were able to confirm the missing woman was the woman that was the subject of this investigation, Heffernan said.

Jim Moeller, of Belleville, said Simpson used to babysit his children about three decades ago.

"For us, obviously, she was like a grandma to our kids," Moeller said. "You know, just a very sweet lady."

Moeller was shaken up to hear the news of Simpson's death.

"She was just a perfect example of a grandma," he said. "She truly gave our kids a lot of love and we appreciate that."

Detectives do not believe foul play was involved in this case. However anyone with information related to this incident should call the Belleville Police Department at 618-234-1212.

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