A 20-year-old Utah woman died of a combination of hypothermia and alcohol after losing her keys in the woods during a night of drinking with a friend in freezing temperatures Wednesday night.
Hadley Boberg and an unnamed 21-year-old man she was with were returning from a late-night hike in Provo Canyon (7,420 feet) when they realized they didn't have the keys to Boberg's Jeep, The Utah County Sheriff's office said in a news release.
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As they rummaged through the oak brush and trees, temperatures dipped well below freezing. They never found the keys or made it back to the jeep. At some point, Boberg lost consciousness and never woke up, authorities said.
According to a Weather Underground station in Provo Canyon, temperatures dipped to 25 degrees overnight Wednesday into early morning Thursday.
In addition to the cold temperatures, winds blowing from the west gusted to near 20 mph that night, further creating a dangerously cold situation for someone not properly prepared for the elements, said Chrissy Warrilow, a meteorologist with weather.com.
Authorities found Boberg's body Thursday morning after her parents reported her missing. They also found the man wandering in the area. Police said the man was evasive and seemed confused during interviews with detectives, the Associated Press reported. That, coupled with the scratches and cuts he had led police to initially label it a suspicious death, according to the AP.
But an autopsy report showed the cause of death was alcohol and exposure to the cold, and authorities now believe it was a tragic accident.
Investigators found several empty bottles of alcohol in the area.
Alcohol and cold temperatures can be a deadly combination: though alcohol can give the illusion of feeling warm, drinking can actually cause you to lose body heat faster, according to Drinkaware.com.
Boberg's Instagram account painted a portrait of an adventurous 20-something who loved exploring Utah's mountainous back-country in her Jeep, hiking and taking pictures.
According to friend Geoffrey Harmon, Boberg was a girl who loved to have fun and was always up for an adventure. He told Fox13now.com he spoke last with his friend on Wednesday afternoon.
“I wasn’t able to hang out with her, wish I had now, Harmon said. “But she tried to call me last night at about 5:30 p.m. I never answered. And then, guess now, I won’t hear from her.”
20-year-old Hadley Boberg was found dead in Provo Canyon, Utah on Thursday morning. (Facebook/Hadley Boberg)