Woman identified, cause of death determined


    Staff Writer

    A woman whose body was discovered in a ditch next to U.S. 160 just west of Pagosa Springs early in the afternoon of Jan. 16 has been identified by Archuleta County Coroner Carl Macht as Cecelia Christine Ames-Soskin, 47, of Pagosa Springs.

    Ames-Soskin’s identity was released Thursday morning, Jan. 17, after Macht contacted her next of kin.

    A call was dispatched at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, and personnel from the Pagosa Springs Police Department, Archuleta County Sheriff Office, Colorado State Patrol and the Pagosa Fire Protection District, as well as Archuleta County Coroner Carl Macht, responded to the site, located across U.S. 160 from Econo Lodge. An investigation followed.

    That day, Macht said it appeared Ames-Soskin had been drinking alcohol and was walking when she, “got really, really cold and fell in the snow and couldn’t get back up.”

    Macht reported that an autopsy performed Monday, Jan. 21, in Grand Junction, “Confirmed that the primary cause of death is hypothermia.”

    Macht added that a primary causative factor in Ames-Soskin’s death was a high blood alcohol level, with high blood pressure playing a role, along with other factors.

    Macht explained that high blood pressure increases a person’s vulnerability to alcohol and temperature changes.

    Ames-Soskin was wearing snow boots and snow pants, but was not wearing a coat at the time of her death, Macht said.

    No time of death was determined on the day of the body’s discovery, but Macht later estimated Ames-Soskin died early that morning (Wednesday).

    Macht said the incident did not appear to be related to a traffic accident, with no signs of trauma discovered during the investigation.

    The incident resulted in closure of U.S. 160 in the vicinity for several hours in order to allow authorities to determine whether other factors were involved in the woman’s death, with traffic rerouted to nearby streets.