Cause of death likely from natural causes after woman, 75, found in Senior Center’s freezer

By Dave Marner, Managing Editor
Posted 6/8/22

An autopsy was rescheduled for today (Wednesday) to determine the cause of death of Karen M. Larson, 75, who was found dead Friday morning inside a walk-in freezer inside the Owensville Senior …

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Cause of death likely from natural causes after woman, 75, found in Senior Center’s freezer

Posted

An autopsy was rescheduled for today (Wednesday) to determine the cause of death of Karen M. Larson, 75, who was found dead Friday morning inside a walk-in freezer inside the Owensville Senior Center.

Gasconade County Coroner Jeff Arnold said Tuesday morning the autopsy was postponed from Tuesday until Wednesday due to scheduling at the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office in Columbia.  Until one is conducted, Arnold said the cause of death will be listed as “undetermined.”

He said he expects the final ruling will be from natural causes due to the known health conditions Larson was being treated for at the time of her death.

“Nothing points in the direction of any sort of foul play,” said Arnold this week.

Larson was discovered on the floor of the freezer around 10:15 a.m. June 3. She had last been heard from through text messages she sent late Thursday afternoon.

Larson, who worked at the senior center, was known to have access to the facility after hours since she lived in the apartment upstairs. 

“It was not unusual for her to be in and out of there at any time finishing up,” said Arnold. “There was nothing unusual for her being down there by herself.”

Arnold said text messages she sent Thursday afternoon ended about 15 to 16 hours before she was discovered.

Owensville City Marshal Robert Rickerd said Larson, who volunteers at the Owensville Senior Center, entered the walk-in freezer inside the facility sometime late Thursday afternoon and apparently suffered from a medical episode.

Police recovered several medications from her apartment above the senior center. 

Arnold and city police Det. Rob Green removed the woman’s body around 11:30 a.m. and Arnold transported the body to Columbia.

Arnold said he and Green could find no evidence that anything other than an apparent health issue caused her death.

Rickerd said Friday the freezer, located inside the center, did have a panic button which would allow someone trapped inside to exit. It did not appear she was able to activate the button due to her medical episode. She was found on the floor, Arnold confirmed this week.

“Late afternoon Thursday, she went in there to get something out of the freezer. Right now it appears she died of natural causes,” said Rickerd on Friday. “It appears she had a medical episode in the freezer.” 

She was pronounced dead shortly after medical personnel from the Owensville Area Ambulance District and Arnold arrived on the scene. “There’s nothing to indicate any foul play was involved,” said Rickerd. “Late afternoon (Thursday) was the last time anyone heard from her.”

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