A Nash County woman was found unconscious in a utility building located beside the Helton United Methodist Church located just off N.C. 194 in the Helton Community at approximately 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12. She died while en route to Ashe Memorial Hospital for treatment.
The woman was later identified as Judith Rose Zuege, 60, originally from Rocky Mount.
According to Ashe County Sheriff James Williams, the preliminary autopsy report indicates the cause of death was hypothermia.
Williams said the investigation is ongoing, but foul play is not suspected at this time.
According to Williams, a 9-1-1 call was placed to the Ashe County Communications Center late yesterday afternoon by members of the church where Zuege was found.
Williams said deputies and emergency services personnel responded and found Zuege unconscious in the utility building. While being transported to the hospital, the woman died, said Williams.
After her death, Williams said he spoke with Zuege’s husband, who lives in Nash County, and he told Williams she had a medical condition and may have been experiencing seizure-like episodes.
Zuege’s husband told Williams his wife had left their home in Nash County over the weekend and driven their daughter to college in Staunton, Va., with plans to visit the Outer Banks after dropping her off.
Williams said Zuege’s husband told him she became lost after leaving Staunton, Va., Monday night and spent the night in Bristol, Tenn. Williams added, the woman’s husband had not spoken with her since she left Bristol, Tenn., on her way to the Outer Banks.
Zuege’s car was found at the church.
The State Bureau of Investigation has been requested by Williams to help with the investigation.