The Dane County Medical Examiner's Office said a 93-year-old woman whose body was found outside of an assisted living facility Friday in Verona died of hypothermia resulting from exposure to cold.
The Medical Examiner's office has identified the woman as Edna S. Biederman.
Preliminary autopsy results indicate Biederman's death was accidental, said Barry Irmen, director of operations for the Medical Examiner's Office.
Biederman was found in the morning near a sidewalk outside of Four Winds Lodge, said Lt. David Dresser of the Verona Police Department.
Dresser said Biederman was a resident of the facility, at 309 Schweitzer Drive. It is connected to Four Winds Manor, a nursing home, at 303. S. Jefferson St.
Biederman was last seen inside the facility Thursday, but it's not clear when, Dresser said. An employee called police to report the death about 8:10 a.m. Friday, he said.
Investigators believe Biederman left the building on her own and succumbed to the elements, he said. Foul play is not suspected.
"We're working with employees of the lodge to determine when she was last observed and how she ended up on the outside of the building," Dresser said.
Lynn Howard, administrator of the lodge and the manor, declined comment.
The state Department of Health Services is investigating, said spokeswoman Claire Smith. It licenses assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
Four Winds Lodge is a 26-bed community based residential facility, a type of assisted living facility. It caters to people with advanced age including people with Alzheimer's or dementia, according to information from the state.
Nursing homes have more regulations than assisted living facilities.
But rules about supervision of residents and when they can leave are based more on the residents' medical status than on the type of facility, said Kim Marheine, ombudsman services supervisor with the state Board on Aging and Long Term Care.
"If they're independent decision makers, they can leave either facility on their own," Marheine said.
Both types of facilities usually make residents sign in and sign out, she said.
— State Journal reporter Sandy Cullen contributed to this report.