Cold weather claims life of Como man in tragic home accident

Published 5:59 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Last week’s arctic blast claimed the life of a Panola County man in a tragic accident at his home.

Jimmy Edwards, 70, was found deceased on Thursday, Jan. 18, at his residence on Compress Rd., east of Como.

Coroner Christopher Gulledge said Edwards died from hypothermia even though his home had two sources of heat.

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A family member called 911 and requested a wellness check when relatives were unable to reach Edwards by phone. He had last been seen on Tuesday, officials said. Deputies found the deceased man in a small room of his home and Gulledge’s office confirmed he had perished due to the freezing temperatures.

The investigation determined that Edwards’ feet had tangled in electric cords causing him to fall and injure himself, rendering him unable to reach a telephone. Unfortunately, tripping on the electric cords also caused the small space heater he was using for warmth to unplug from the wall receptacle, removing this only heat source in the room.

“Family members told us Mr. Edwards would use his home’s gas heat to take the chill away, and then use a small heater in one room to stay warm,” Gulledge said. 

He said investigators were able to rule out foul play, confirming that injuries from his fall were not significant enough to cause Edwards’ death.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has reported that six other people have died in the past week due to the winter storm and below-freezing temperatures. The six deaths since Jan. 14 occurred in Washington, Chickasaw, Rankin, Humphreys and Sharkey counties.