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‘We Still Would Not Be Able to See the Body’: Missing Wisconsin Teen Who Was New to Area Found Frozen to Death Days After Car Crashes Into Ditch

Wisconsin cops found a 17-year-old girl from Wrightstown who they believed died of hypothermia after her body was found near her abandoned car.

Daniela Velazquez was reported missing by her mother on the morning of Sunday, Jan. 29, after she did not return home Saturday night.

According to Brown County Sheriff’s Office Capt. David Poteat, authorities found Daniela’s car crashed in a ditch. Only her keys and wallet were found inside the vehicle, but her shoes and phone were found on the outside.

Wisconsin Cops Found Missing 17-Year-Old Girl Frozen to Death Near Her Crashed Car
Daniela Velazquez’s body was discovered on Jan. 29, 2022. (Photo: Brown’s County Sherrif’s Office)

Crews searched 37 acres over two days, utilizing drones, snowmobiles, and a K-9 crew. Daniela’s mother told cops she was last seen wearing pajama pants and a sweatshirt. Poteat said one of the K-9 dogs found a discarded article of clothing that matched the description of what she was wearing.

“We still would not be able to see the body from that video footage (drone) even knowing where she was recovered, and that is basically just because of branches, shadows and the terrain at the time,” said Poteat.

The two-day search ended on Tuesday morning when authorities found Daniela’s body about a quarter-mile away from the abandoned car. Officials stated that the autopsy will have to wait because her body was frozen.

Officials believed she crashed her car between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday. Wind chill was reported to be negative four degrees during those hours.

No foul play is suspected and hypothermia is the most likely cause of death. The family recently moved to Wisconsin from Florida and Daniela wasn’t enrolled in school yet. The unfamiliarity of the new area and driving in the snowy conditions are strong indicators of the cause of her crash.

“She was definitely not dressed for the weather and being outside in conditions… for any extended period of time is going to result in fatality in a short period of time,” Poteat said. “She was found with her hands close to her like someone would be if they’re trying to stay warm.”

The police captain stated that it is not uncommon for someone suffering from hypothermia to remove a piece of clothing thinking their body is hot despite the colder temperatures.

The Brown County Sheriff’s department sends its sincerest sympathy to her family and friends. The family hasn’t made a statement.

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