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An elderly couple was found dead buried in the snow on Friday in Ash Fork, Arizona, by nearby homeowners, according to police.
Mike and Diane Haas spotted the bodies of Richard Alexander, 74, and Elizabeth Alexander, 79, along Old Route 66 outside Ash Fork, a rural community 47 miles west of Flagstaff.
The Alexanders’ car was found one mile away. They lived nearby but their car got stuck in the snow last week when Ash Fork received 10 inches of snowfall, according to detectives.
It’s suspected that the couple died of hypothermia while exposed to the extreme temperatures, authorities said Saturday.
“It is possible snow kept their bodies from view for a period of time,” the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said, and that they “may have succumbed to weather-related conditions.”
The Haases were heading out of their home Friday when they noticed two figures in their yard. They approached to see what was going on.
“He [Mike] wondered if they were sleeping, so he got out and yelled at them and they didn’t respond,” Diane Haas told ABC 15 Arizona.
“I said ‘Sir, sir!’ And of course they didn’t respond. It came pretty obvious pretty quick, [from] their skin color and other details that they were deceased. So we immediately called 911 and made sure not to touch anything,” Mike Haas said.
After the Alexanders’ car became snuck in the snow, Mike Haas thought that the couple was making their way to his home.
“Eventually they decided to leave their vehicle,” he said, adding that his and his wife’s front porch light was the only one the desperate couple could see. “They were headed to our house we believe. But 100 yards short.”
The couple said it was emotional to think the pair was suffering so close to them while they were celebrating Thanksgiving.
The Haases found Richard Alexander laying on top of his wife Elizabeth Alexander, possibly trying to keep her warm.
“It’s terrifying to think that she might’ve been alive under her husband,” Mike Haas said.
“It’s sadness,” he added. “You wish you could’ve helped. You could’ve saved a life, perhaps. Maybe two lives.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.