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Hypothermia victim Colter Steffens - KOAM TV 7

Update on Pittsburg hypothermia victim; how you can help his family

Updated January 17, 2014:  A 27-year-old Pittsburg man found outside in the cold earlier this month has severe frost bite and is being kept in a sedated state.

The morning of January 6 Colter Steffens was found outside of a home west of Pittsburg.

According to his brother-in-law, Shaun Hampton, Steffens is on a warming machine and is still on a vent.  Steffens is maintaining a normal body temperature but has severe frost bite, so he is being kept in a medicated-sedated state.

Hampton says Steffens is responding to nurses, but it has been limited.  He is improving daily but has his good and bad days.  Steffens is being ordered by doctors to rest, in order to heal.

Steffens has two children and friends are raising funds to help the family.  If you would like to help Steffens and his children, you can donate online at http://www.gofundme.com/67rplo, or mail a donation to:

Labette Bank
c/o Colter Steffens
242 East McKay
PO Box 1021
Frontenac, Kansas 66763
Phone: 620-231-9280

Any Labette Bank will accept a donation.

Also, a pancake feed fundraiser will be held from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. January 25 at the Applebee's in Pittsburg.  A raffle will be held.  To buy tickets call Jill at 620-249-1889.

Colter has two children.  His father, John, is a Pittsburg police officer.  His mother, Patty, is a Special Education teacher with SEK Interlocal.

 

Updated January 6, 2014 at 10:34 PM CST:  A Pittsburg man is in the hospital tonight after he was found outside in the cold.  The Crawford County Sheriff's Office is still investigating the case, and they are not saying how the victim ended up at someone's home.  But the homeowner tells us details are being connected, and a possible circumstance is coming to light.

It happened just outside John Thompson's home near Pittsburg.

"I don't wish that on anybody," says Thompson.

"We were dispatched in regards to apparently a subject suffering from exposure to the extreme cold," says Crawford County Sheriff Dan Peak.

Thompson describes how he found the victim, identified as 26-year-old Colter Steffens.

"I pulled into my driveway with my headlights facing from my big truck," says Thompson.  "And there he was, just in a fetal position, frozen solid on my patio."

Thompson says he made the discovery this morning at around 7, after he returned home from a quick errand.  Thompson says police made a connection to a nearby broken down car about a quarter of a mile away, which has since been towed away.

"When we saw the tracks come up across the road, down through the creek and up through my backyard, we discovered that was his vehicle and he left the scene there and was probably trying to get help," says Thompson.

Police don't yet know how long Steffens was outside.  He was alert but incoherent.  Thompson says what he saw was horrifying.

Thompson's family called 911, and when police arrived, they put Steffens in Thompson's home.  Thompson says Steffens' hair and clothes were frozen stiff.

"They had to cut his clothes off.  Even when the EMT's got here, they said, oh my God.  They had never seen anything like that, ever, in their field," says Thompson.

"His entire body was literally shutting down," says Sheriff Peak.

Steffens was taken to Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg, then flown to KU Medical Center in Kansas City.

"I've never experienced anything like that in my life," says Thompson.

And Thompson says he never wants to again.

The victim was taken to the hospital in serious condition.  The homeowner tells us the victim was wearing slip-on shoes, some pants, and a hooded sweatshirt.

 

Posted January 6, 2014 at 1:15 PM CST"He looked like an ice cube." A resident just outside of Pittsburg describes finding a man outside in a fetal position near this back door.

Crawford County deputies are investigating, and homeowners tell us they can see foot tracks in snow from a broken down car nearby, signaling the victim may have tried to drag himself to help.  Police say he was barely alive.

 

NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE CRAWFORD COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE (CORRECTED BY REQUEST)

On January 6, 2014 at 6:55 a.m., Sheriff's Deputies responded to 2408 W. 4th Street in rural Pittsburg regarding an individual lying on the ground near the house at that address.

The homeowner, John Thompson, Jr. told deputies that he found the subject, identified as Colter Steffens, 26 of Pittsburg, lying on the ground when he returned home from work at approximately 6:50 a.m. When deputies arrived, the homeowner had covered Steffens up in an attempt to warm him from apparent exposure to snow, ice and the extremely cold temperatures. Deputies were able to move Steffens indoors where they continued the warming methods.

It is unknown how long Steffens had been exposed to the elements prior to being found. Steffens was transported by Crawford County EMS to Via Christi Medical Center in serious condition. Deputies continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

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