Family members of an 84-year-old Black woman, who died this month in her Texas apartment from hypothermia, are lambasting the state’s handling of storms and power outages that have plagued it.
Relatives of Mary Gee said police discovered her frozen body on the morning of Feb. 16. The medical examiner’s office determined that Gee died as a result of hypothermia, ABC 7 News reported.
"For somebody to freeze to death is... I'm always cold. So, just for that coldness to sit in my body that long for me to pass from it, that's just a hard way to go," Nicale Spencer, Gee’s granddaughter, said. "It's almost like suffering, and it's just sad."
Houston, TX— Cleavon MD (@Cleavon_MD) February 20, 2021
Mary Gee, 84, aka "mama Mary" lost her son, an Army veteran to COVID earlier this month. Mary's apartment complex had no power for days & she was found dead from hypothermia. Her apt was ransacked with thieves taking her TV, phone & possessions https://t.co/W7xOPctbJU pic.twitter.com/r4dGTanKMd
As storms and inclement weather bombarded Texas last week, Gee's family said both the heat and power were turned off at her apartment overnight on Monday.
"It bothers me deeply," Gee’s stepdaughter Rachel Cook said. "I mean, you don't know what happened to her within those hours."
While the family struggles to deal with the untimely death, they are also trying to find the burglars who ransacked Gee’s apartment a day after her death and made away with her TV, phone and son’s Army decorations.
"The stuff was just ransacked and thrown," Cook said. "I really don't care about that stuff, I cared about her."
The woman’s grandson Ronnie Spencer added, "God's got a special plan for those people that came in here knowing she [was] deceased.”
Nicale said she had recently spoken with her grandmother and that the feeling of her being gone so soon afterward seems surreal.
"To just talk to somebody and you’re joking on the phone with her, and then suddenly your next phone call is somebody screaming telling you they’re gone is surreal,” she said.
ABC News reported that as of Sunday night, 22 people have died near the Houston area from frigid weather-related ailments like hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning.
An estimate of a dozen deaths is suspected by the medical examiner’s office to be caused by the rare winter weather hitting the area.
As Blavity previously reported, the family of an 11-year-old boy is suing the state’s energy providers after he died in their mobile home from what they suspect was hypothermia.
In their $100 million wrongful death lawsuit, the family alleges that Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Entergy Corporation ignored past recommendations to upgrade the power grid ahead of such calamity, which caused more than 4 million people to fend for themselves without heat and electricity.
"Despite having knowledge of the dire weather forecast for at least a week in advance, and the knowledge that the system was not prepared for more than a decade, ERCOT and Entergy failed to take any preemptory action that could have averted the crisis and were wholly unprepared to deal with the crisis at hand," the lawsuit reads.