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VALLEY FOCUS | Sylmar

Heat Possible Cause of Woman Hiker's Death

July 21, 1998|SOLOMON MOORE

Scorching heat is the likely culprit in the death last weekend of a 36-year-old hiker, who walked in 90- to 100-degree weather for more than five hours without food or water, police say.

Janet Marlene Mack collapsed while walking with a male companion on a hiking trail above the 12900 block of Harding Street. The companion tried to revive her, then walked to a nearby road and flagged down a motorist, who called police.

Investigators estimated the woman succumbed to the heat after five hours of hiking, but that estimate could be low, Lt. Rick Papke of the LAPD's Foothill Station said.

"We were not getting a whole lot of reliable information from the companion," Papke said, adding that the man was more incoherent than evasive.

Coroner's officials conducted an autopsy Monday, but the cause of death was not released pending toxicology results. If the autopsy bears out the detective's theory, the woman's death would be among the city's first heat-related fatalities this year.

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