Heat could be to blame for woman's death

Woman, 62, found dead in her apartment

By Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

HOUSTON - A woman, 62, was found dead inside her Third Ward apartment complex on Thursday and the heat could be to blame.

The medical examiner will perform an autopsy to determine her exact cause of death, but officials told KPRC Local 2 the triple-digit temperatures may be the cause. 

Residents who live at the Cuney Homes public housing complex said the woman, who lived in an upstairs unit, did not have air conditioning. 

"She had a small fan," said neighbor Dallas Mott.  "I gave her a fan last week."

Mott said he had a feeling something was wrong with his neighbor.  He usually sees her outside talking with other neighbors or smoking a cigarette, but he said it had been two days since anyone had spoken to her.

"I really do believe she passed away through heat exhaustion or something," said Michelle Sosa.  "It's hot, especially up top, it's hot."

The Houston Housing Authority said the complex, located on Tuxillo Street, was built in 1938 and central air conditioning wasn't an option back then. 

In a statement, the HHA said, "In addition to subsidizing resident rents, HHA provides utility allowances, in accordance with HUD regulations, to help residents with energy costs. HHA does not however, provide air conditioning at Cuney Homes. It is up to each resident to pay for the purchase and installation of their own AC units."

The woman's name has not been released. 

Neighbors said she was moving to California next week to live closer to her children. 

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