The Woodland Park Police are still investigating the case surrounding the death of Mindy Lee, who apparently froze to death after jumping out of a vehicle in late November near the Woodland Park High School.
Her body was discovered on Dec. 1 by a Woodland Park Police officer near the football field, following a several day search. Lee, 33, died of hypothermia, according to the Teller County Coroner’s office.
Her death has raised many questions, especially the circumstances regarding why Lee suddenly exited a vehicle in the presence of her 4-year-old daughter and two friends.
According to Woodland Park Police Chief Bob Larson, authorities still want to examine more information before finalizing the investigation. The missing pieces include more details of her cell phone records and other aspects of the case being handled by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
But officials have concluded that Lee suffered from “acute methamphetamine intoxication.” “That may have affected her thinking,” said Larson. But the police chief declined to speculate on how this could have impacted her decision to exit the SUV she was traveling in the night she disappeared.
Toxicology reports discovered the presence of methamphetamine, Oxycodone and Wellbutrin in her system around the time of her death. Out of these drugs, the only substance she digested of substantial quantities was the meth, according to Larson. Lee did have a prescription for the Wellbutrin, which is considered an anti-depressant. Oxycodone is a narcotic pain-killer and meth is a well-known psycho-stimulant substance.
The police still believe no foul play was involved.
According to Larson, interviews with her friends who accompanied her that day did coincide with initial reports.
“They did try to get her to the hospital,” said Larson, who noted that friends attempted to have her examined at the Pikes Peak Regional Hospital, just outside Woodland Park. But Lee, who was suffering from laryngitis, didn’t want to be treated.
“It is a real tragedy,” said Larson, in describing Lee’s death.
As for the length of time it took officials to find Lee, Larson attributes that to some faulty information regarding the exact spot where Lee may have exited the vehicle. Police initially received a report, via a phone call, regarding her reported disappearance. The friends who accompanied Lee tried to chase after her that evening when she jumped out of the vehicle, but couldn’t find her in the dark.
The case has continued to baffle authorities and friends and family members of Lee. “We still can’t understand why she didn’t notice anyone (during the search),” said Larson. The police chief said that particular area of town, around the Forest Edge subdivision, was flooded with police and emergency service officials during the time of her reported disappearance.
Mindy Lee was described by friends, family members and acquaintances as extremely friendly, personable, well-educated and quite devoted to her family. She had lived in Manitou Springs for the last five years.