A 22-year-old woman was found dead on Christmas Eve after being trapped inside her car for nearly a day during the historic blizzard in Buffalo, New York, last weekend.
Anndel Taylor of Charlotte, North Carolina, was driving home from work on Friday afternoon when her car became stranded in the snowstorm for at least 18 hours, according to local media. The young woman had moved back to Buffalo, where she was born, earlier this year to care for her father after living in Charlotte with her family for the last two decades.
Wanda Brown Steele, Taylor’s mother, told WSOC she believes her daughter died from carbon monoxide poisoning rather than hypothermia. However, the official cause of death is still unknown.
“The car was running, and the snow was still coming, so it blocked the pipes, the exhaust pipe,” Wanda Brown Steele, Taylor’s mother, told WSOC. “Then, after the car cut off, that’s when she iced up.”
Steele told the outlet her daughter called 911 emergency services for assistance and planned to sleep during the blizzard and then walk home. But with more than 40 inches of snow pummeling western New York over the Christmas weekend, authorities could not reach Taylor in what Gov. Kathy Hochul called “the blizzard of the century.”
The mother alerted relatives in Buffalo to search for Taylor.
“That’s when they busted open the window and seen that she was in there,” Steele said, according to The New York Post.
Shawnequa Brown, Taylor’s sister, told WCOS that she “was telling my sister that she was scared.”
While Taylor waited inside her vehicle, she sent her family two videos showing the gravity of her situation, showing her car windshields covered in snow and then slightly rolling down her window to show the treacherous weather conditions.
Taylor became one of at least 28 people killed in what some reports indicated the storm was the worst blizzard to hit Buffalo in 45 years, coming close to a blizzard that hit the city in 1977 and killed nearly 30 people.
Although the winter storm that struck the city ended on Christmas morning, officials fear the death toll will rise.
Sylvia Taylor, Taylor’s grandmother, told WSOC-TV: “It’s so easy to ask yourself, ‘Why, God? Why?”
“But it’s not always meant for us to know the answer to that,” she said.
Family members told The Post that Taylor’s 23rd birthday was coming soon.
She “still got presents under the tree” for Christmas,” Shawnequa Brown said.
Brown called her sister “the golden child … The funniest, the realist, the hoodest little sister ever!”
“I’m so so so sorry, I would do anything to have been there with you,” she wrote, according to The Post.