Weather contributing to recent homeless deaths, WFPD says

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 6:49 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The body of a 43-year-old homeless woman was found Thursday in the 2200 block of McKinney Road, marking the 4th homeless death known to the Wichita Falls Police Department this year.

Police responded to a call about a strong odor in the area and when they arrived, they reportedly found the body in a homeless camp in a wooded area.

WFPD officials said they have noticed an increase in people experiencing homelessness in Wichita Falls. It has mostly been in shaded areas like under overpasses and wooded areas.

“When I get out and I ride around, I have seen quite a bit more in some of the areas where our transient folks will hang out, in the downtown area near Broad Street and Holliday Street,” WFPD PIO Sgt. Charlie Eipper said. “We recognize that the weather has been pretty harsh lately, winter and summer. It is dangerous out there.”

Eipper said it is also challenging when dealing with a homeless death because it is hard to identify them, find out if they have any family to contact, as well as how long they may have been dead for. In some instances, they have to get help from surrounding people or businesses.

“I remember identifying one at a campsite like this and it was actually through a local convenience store’s video where we were able to look at it and see this person coming and going pretty regularly, then all of the sudden stopped.”

He said because of the extreme heat we have experienced this year, their officers have let homeless people know of places that can shelter them, like Faith Mission and Faith Refuge.