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Exposure to cold believed cause for two seniors found dead last week

With preliminary autopsy results in hand, the Superior Police Department is reporting that prolonged exposure to the cold is the cause of death of an elderly couple found dead outside their home.

Shirley Johnson, 78, and Richard Ellison, 83, were found dead outside their home Dec. 21 in the Butler Park area of South Superior. Police were called to the scene around 10:30 a.m. Dec. 21 on a report of two people found deceased outside.

After an exam of the scene, preliminary investigation and preliminary autopsy results, it appears that both Johnson and Ellison passed away due to exposure to the cold, Superior Police Capt Thomas Champaigne reported in a news release.

The Superior Police Department is awaiting final autopsy and toxicology reports but does not believe this “unfortunate incident” was anything more than two people, locked out of their residence and being exposed to the cold for a prolonged period of time, Champaigne stated.