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Alcohol a factor in death

Gary E. Salazar

— Alcohol and the cold weather led to the death of 51-year-old Bonnie Baxter, Routt County Coroner Doug Allen said Friday.

Because of the woman’s alcohol toxicity and the exposure to the cold weather early Tuesday morning, the Steamboat Springs woman’s death has been ruled an accident, Allen said.

“Because of the alcohol, she didn’t come in out of the cold,” Allen said. “She spent the night outside and died because of the exposure.”

Along with the low overnight temperatures Baxter was exposed to, the woman also had a significant blood-alcohol content, Allen said.

Toxicology results show Baxter had a BAC of .347, which is three times the legal driving limit.

Because of the autopsy and toxicology results, Steamboat Springs Detective Ross Kelly was expected to wrap up his investigation into the woman’s death by today.

“I have a few loose ends to tie up,” Kelly said Friday afternoon. “I expect for it to be complete by tomorrow.”

Baxter was reported missing Monday night by her sister, Diane Granich, when she did not return home.

The woman was found dead Tuesday afternoon near her mobile home in West Steamboat Springs.

Jim Bolten, who rented a furnished room from Baxter, found the woman’s body in the West Acre storage area.

Bolten called 911, and officers found the woman’s body in what appeared to be a large carport.

Granich last heard from her sister at about 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Baxter called Granich, whom she lived with, from Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Baxter asked her sister if she wanted any books. Granich notified police her sister was missing about midnight.

Because the cause of Baxter’s death was unknown, Kelly led an investigation to ensure foul play was not involved.

Investigators canvassed the area between the library and the carport.

Authorities have been able to determine Baxter caught a bus at the library and got off at Riverside Drive, Kelly said.

Baxter moved to Steamboat Springs nearly 30 years ago. She earned a degree from San Diego University.


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