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Police: Cold exposure contributed to death of Anchorage woman in van

Benjamin S. Brasch
Anchorage police took the body of a dead woman out of a van parked at Alaska Professional Auto at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013. Police have not determined what killed the woman but don't suspect anything suspicious.
Benjamin S. Brasch
Anchorage police assist in the removal of a body from a van in a lot on East 6th Avenue on Thursday, December 26, 2013. Police say the body was discovered earlier Thursday morning.
Marc Lester

A woman found dead inside a parked vehicle near downtown Thursday morning has been identified as Elaine Marie Cleveland, 34, of Anchorage, police said.

Police received a call about a woman who was unconscious and unresponsive in a van at 7:20 a.m., said Jennifer Castro, Anchorage police spokeswoman.

An autopsy conducted on the body showed cold weather contributed to Cleveland's death, Castro said. No foul play is suspected at this point.

Medics determined Cleveland was dead when they arrived with police and found her in a white Chevrolet Express van parked on East Sixth Avenue, Castro said.

The van was parked on the lot of Alaska Professional Auto, 1011 E. Sixth Ave. Police removed the body and loaded it into a State Medical Examiner Office van at 10:30 a.m.

The Chevrolet Express van has been on the lot for a month, said Tare Choi, an employee at the car lot. 

Castro did not say how Cleveland had gotten inside the van.

 


By BENJAMIN S. BRASCH
bbrasch@adn.com