Teen dies of hypothermia in Blaine County - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Teen dies of hypothermia in Blaine County

Posted: Jan 12, 2018 5:31 PM Updated:

The Blaine County Sheriff has identified the teen whose body was found in a field along US Highway 2.

Jeremy Tincher, 17 years old, was found deceased in a field near mile post 426 along Highway 2 on Thursday morning.

A press release from the Sheriff's Office says that Tincher was reported to be last seen walking along the highway between Harlem and Fort Belknap on Wednesday evening. 

He was not appropriately dressed for the extremely cold temperatures and he succumbed to hypothermia and exposure. 

His body was taken to the Montana State Medical Examiner in Billings for autopsy.

The cause of death was confirmed to be hypothermia, and the Sheriff's Office noted that alcohol may have been a contributing factor in his death. 

This investigation continues and is being handled by the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office. 

Undersheriff Frank Jay Billmayer said in the press release: "The Blaine County Sheriff’s/ Coroner’s Office extends its deepest condolences to the family and community for the loss of this young man.  This is the second death in Blaine County due to hypothermia in as many weeks.  BCSO implores community members to take these frigid temperatures seriously and dress accordingly.  Disorientation and death can occur in a matter of minutes when outside temperatures are so cold."

This marks at least the fourth Montana death directly related to exposure within the last several weeks.

  • Nicole Reynolds of Helena, 34, died from exposure after she walked away from a Butte-area home (article).
  • David Martinez of California, 61 years old, was found in his van, which was parked at the Walmart in Kalispell, several days ago (article).
  • Antonio Castillo, Jr., of Harlem/Fort Belknap, died as a result of hypothermia and exposure to extremely frigid temperatures on December 29th (article). 

Know the warning signs of hypothermia

What is Hypothermia?

  • Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced. Lengthy exposures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature.
  • Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia especially dangerous, because a person may not know that it’s happening and won’t be able to do anything about it.
  • While hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.

Who’s Most at Risk?

Victims of hypothermia are often:

  • Older adults with inadequate food, clothing, or heating
  • Babies sleeping in cold bedrooms
  • People who remain outdoors for long periods—the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.
  • People who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.
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