A 25-year-old Lake Elmo woman whose body was found in a snowy, wooded area Saturday likely died of hypothermia, police say.
Alexandra Arnt, 25, was reported missing around noon that day by her boyfriend, Woodbury police spokeswoman Michelle Okada said. Family members found Arnt’s Mazda CX-3 in a ditch on the west side of a rural stretch of Keats Avenue, also known as County Road 19, in Cottage Grove, and police were called. Nobody had seen or heard from Arnt since 2:30 a.m., according to the police report.
“The family members called in because the young woman had not come home and they did end up finding her vehicle along the roadside,” Okada said. “They believed she was on her way home.”
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded, scouring the terrain using search and rescue dogs, snowmobiles, a drone and a State Patrol helicopter. Searchers found Arnt’s body at 5:46 p.m. more than a mile south of her vehicle, Okada said.
A preliminary autopsy by the Ramsey County medical examiner indicates she died of hypothermia. The low temperature for the area that evening was 1 below zero, according to National Weather Service records.
Arnt’s cellphone was found in her Mazda and no airbags had been deployed, according to the report.
Police are waiting for toxicology and other lab results to determine the precise cause of death.
“As of right now they’re not believing that there’s any foul play, but to be sure, they’re doing a thorough investigation,” Okada said.
Woodbury police were assisted in their search by Cottage Grove police and by personnel from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Water Parks and Trails Division.
"Alex loved music, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends. She had a passion for writing about her thoughts, feelings, life and its meaning," according to an online obituary.
She is survived by her mother, Jody Arnt; father, Mike (Janell) Arnt; sister Taylor Arnt; brother Jake Arnt and grandparents Dale and Karen Larson and Dave and Carol Arnt.
A private family service is planned.
“Certainly, it’s a very tragic situation for everyone involved,” Okada said.