Lindsay Groce Gardner & Hailey Rain Gardner, January 13, 2015, Fort Worth, Texas.
Having come across this story whilst researching deaths in the outdoors, it appears so bizarre I thought it would be interesting for readers of the blog despite it not being related to the wilderness.
At about 8:20 am on January 13, 2015, police were informed by a passer-by, Amber Bentley, that a Toyota sedan was wrecked against a tree in a field southwest of the intersection of Dirks and Bryant Irvin roads, Tarrant County near Fort Worth in Texas. Amber happened to be passing as she dropped her kids at school. Since Amber had a child in the car at the time, she couldn't get out to approach the car, but stayed until the police showed up. 'There's always deer in that field. I was looking for the deer and I saw the car … It was against a tree and the hood was smashed in and the driver's side door was open."
The airbags were deployed in the car, but with no sign of an occupant the police left the scene, near a grove of trees off Altamesa Boulevard.
About 11am, a fence repair man came to the site and unlike the police discovered two bodies. A woman's body was on top of baby still strapped into the car seat. Both were undressed, women's clothes were strewn in the field between the car and the bodies, indicating she undressed as she walked with her baby away from the car, which was around 200 yards away. Natosha Tucker of the Fort Worth police "I cannot comment on why there was a delay between the call that was made and the bodies being found".
The two bodies were identified as Lindsay Groce, 27, and her 13 month old baby daughter, Hailey by the Tarrant County medical examiner's office. There were no injuries and no sign of trauma on both bodies apart from a few minor scratches.
The medical examiner’s ruling in Lindsay's death states she died of hypothermia with paradoxical undressing. Paradoxical undressing can occur in cases of severe hypothermia when the victim, confused and disoriented, begins to feel as if she is burning up and therefore removes her clothing. Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees, which can lead to heart and respiratory failure and eventually death.Toxicology screenings came back negative for both mother and child.
Lindsay Groce Gardner was a teacher of 1-year-olds at Travis Avenue Baptist Church’s Christian Early Learning Centre, married to Anthony (on June 29, 2012) and worked as a freelance artist.
In a post from August 2013, Lindsay wrote about stress concerning a move to Lancaster, California. "Why can’t things just go the way you plan them? Why does God constantly have another path? These are things I get to thinking. You’ve probably thought them before too. Why do we even bother thinking that? He already had a path. It’s our scared insecure brains that try to tie all the knots of false insecurity together into believing that we are going to be ok because of our ‘plan'. Even though, constantly, again and again, our plan fails, falls apart, crumbles, vanishes. But God’s plans are always solid. He always follows through and takes care of us."
Studies have indicated that as the core body temperature falls to a critical level, constricted blood vessels that retain body heat expand and give off an exaggerated sensation of being hot. In cases of paradoxical undressing, the hypothermia victim, feeling hot but in the cold, then irrationally begins to undress in an attempt to stay cool. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, in a recent study of hypothermia victims, 30 percent involved cases of paradoxical undressing.
But this story is vey strange. Why did Lindsay crash her car so far off the road into trees off Altamesa Boulevard? Is it really plausible she suffered paradoxical undressing caused by hypothermia with the safety of the car less than 200 yards away? Why did the police fail to see the scattered clothes and bodies so close to the abandoned car? A really disturbing and sad story from Texas. Bewildering.