Medical Examiner releases preliminary findings in Onalaska death - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Medical Examiner releases preliminary findings in Onalaska death


ONALASKA, Wisconsin (WXOW) - The La Crosse County Medical Examiner has reported preliminary findings in the autopsy for Neala Frye, 23, who was found dead in Onalaska Sunday night.

Chief Medical Examiner John Steers wrote Tuesday, "(Frye's) death appears to have been due to hypothermia, secondary to intoxication."

The temperature dropped to three degrees early Sunday morning.

A preliminary alcohol screen for Frye indicated a .211 blood alcohol content, according to the medical examiner's office. Additional toxicology is pending. Final results will be available at that time.

Out of respect for the family, Steers said there will be no further information released until the final report becomes available.

Frye's body was discovered late Sunday night on the south side of the railroad tracks near 1st Avenue South in Onalaska.

Her death is still under investigation. Onalaska Police Chief Jeff Trotnic said he doesn't suspect foul play, but brought in a criminal investigative team primarily because Frye's body was found near the woods and railroad tracks.

Her belongings, like an ID, a purse and shoes, were spread across a six-block radius, Trotnic added.

"When you draw a circle, that's a pretty wide range and nothing was really systematic in the placement of anything. It's not like it was a straight line," Trotnic said. "On a straight line, you drop something here, you drop something there, and then you find out where she's at."

"It wasn't anything like that," he continued. "It was all over the place."

Crime scene investigators also helped police collect surveillance video from area businesses. Police want to make sure Frye was not being followed.

Frye was seen last at the Spillway Pub at a promotional event for Body & Sol – a tanning and massage salon she worked at.

Trotnic said footage from that bar shows Frye leaving with a friend. One or more people left at the same time, but it's unclear if they're part of the group.  

When police spoke with Frye's friend around 1 a.m., Trotnic said Frye was not with her.

Police are still collecting video and questioning people who could have seen Frye last, Trotnic said.

All blockages of the crime scene have been removed.

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