Authorities release identities in recent cold death cases

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Sun-Times file photo

Authorities have identified two people who died of cold-related causes this month on the Near West Side and in west suburban Elmwood Park.

Krystal Nitschke, 65, was pronounced dead at 9:47 a.m. Jan. 19 after she was found dead in the 1800 block of North 78th in Elmwood Park, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. She lived in the same block.

An autopsy found Nitschke died of cold exposure, with metastatic malignancy as a contributing factor, the medical examiner’s office said. Her death was ruled an accident.

Antonio Garcia, 64, was found in the 400 block of North Union and pronounced dead at 3:20 p.m. Ian. 12, according to the medical examiner’s office. He lived in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood on the West Side.

An autopsy found Garcia died of hypothermia due to cold exposure, with cardiovascular disease and cirrhosis of the liver listed as contributing factors, according to the medical examiner’s office. His death was ruled an accident.

Both of their names were initially withheld pending notification of their families, but the medical examiner’s office identified them Wednesday in the hopes that their friends or family will contact the office.

At least 14 other cold-related deaths have been reported in Cook County since Oct. 23, 2017, according to records maintained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Last winter, at least 27 cold-related deaths were reported, according to authorities. The first cold-related death of the 2016-2017 season was reported Oct. 22, 2016.

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