HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Authorities say an elderly Harris County woman with dementia was discovered dead this morning after apparently wandering from her home.
Rosella Wilson, 82, was found in a wooded area less than 50 yards from the back door of her home in the 400 block of Dreamland.
"She was always happy, even when she would have her bad days, she was always happy," said her granddaughter, Demetria George.
"Miss Rose," as she was known to many, had early stages of dementia, according to her family.
They say they take turns checking on her. Her sister lives just next door and one of her adult sons says he last saw her at about 1 p.m. yesterday.
They know the front door to the home was opened at about 2 p.m. yesterday because an alarm system that shows it opened at that time. "She left the house, and with dementia, what I've learned, they can't be by themselves. It's no one's fault, why she's not here today," said George.
The family believes she died as a result of exposure to the extreme cold. They hope others will see what happened and use it as a reminder to check on the elderly and those with dementia.
"Just call everyone. Call your family. Make sure that they're ok. We don't want another one of this to happen," said relative Marcia Davis.
She loved children. She used to babysit for many families in the area. Her family says many credit the success they have found in life with the way that she helped raise them.
According to investigators there are no signs of foul play. A medical examiner will ultimately determine Wilson's cause of death.
The Houston Fire Department said one homeless person died of hypothermia during the city's winter storm.