Investigators call Fond du Lac woman's death a 'tragic accident'

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FOND DU LAC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Fond du Lac County investigators are calling the death of a woman found on the Lake Winnebago shoreline a "tragic accident."

The sheriff's office says Lindsey Klima, 27, likely fell at the shoreline. Wearing only jeans and a lightweight jacket with no hat or gloves, the cold weather led to the woman's death.
"The temperatures simply aren't conducive to be outdoors for any length of time, and she wasn't dressed to be out in those temperatures and those wind chills that night," says Captain Ryan Waldschmidt from the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office.

Klima had been at a New Year's Eve gathering at an ice shanty. Investigators say she left to smoke a cigarette at about 1:30 a.m., and that's the last time party-goers saw her.

"There were people coming and going all night long, and everybody just kind of assumed she went and left with somebody else," according to Waldschmidt.

The next afternoon, after a series of text messages, the group discovered that Klima did not go home with anyone at the party. Waldschmidt adds, "It took until the next day for family and friends to realize she didn't crash at anybody else's house."

She was reported missing at approximately 4:40 p.m. on New Year's Day.

Authorities, along with Klima's family and friends, searched the area where she was last seen. They found her body about 100 yards away from the shanty she left the night before.

"It does somewhat look like she had difficulty climbing up on the rocks. There's a rocky shoreline there, she may have injured herself on that climb off of the ice onto the shoreline. It looks like she maybe injured herself there, maybe twisted a leg, injured her leg in some way, and then made it just up to shore into this backyard and then succumbed to the cold," Waldschmidt says.

The sheriff's office says foul play is not suspected and investigators continue to work with the Medical Examiner's Office on the investigation.

Friends of Klima's, who did not want to speak on camera, tell us she was a friend to everyone and a wonderful mother to her daughter. Her death has left them in complete shock.

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