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Renville County records 12 accidental deaths in 2020

For Renville County, the past year was a relatively calm one in terms of the need for services from the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office. An annual report from the office shows that it was called to review 115 deaths and perform nine autopsies.

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OLIVIA — The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office reviewed 115 deaths and performed nine autopsies for Renville County in 2020, making it a relatively calm year in terms of the need for services by the office, according to Dr. A. Quinn Strobl.

Renville County experienced 12 accidental deaths last year, Strobl told the Renville County Board of Commissioners during her annual report on Tuesday. Two of the deaths were due to choking. They include one case in which a woman choking on food crashed her car. The crash did not cause other significant injury.

Renville County experienced three motor vehicle fatalities last year. The victims included two women, ages 34 and 48, and a man aged 34. One motor vehicle fatality involved a driver under the influence of methamphetamine. The county had recorded four motor vehicle fatalities in each of the previous two years.

Strobl said the county did not experience any deaths due to drug overdose, which has been a concern in prior years. There was one natural death of a 59-year-old man due to complications of chronic substance abuse. There was also a death in which alcohol was a contributing factor. A 61-year-old man who was intoxicated fell down stairs.

The county did not officially record a homicide in 2020. A Renville County man died of injuries from a gunshot wound inflicted in the county. The case is in the court system as a homicide. The man’s death occurred at the Hennepin County Medical Center, and consequently the homicide death is listed in that county, Sheriff Scott Hable told the commissioners.

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There were three suicides in the past year in Renville County. The three were men ages 49 to 63, and the deaths were due to hanging.

Six people, ages 66 to 99, died from complications sustained in falls from standing height, according to the report.

The office also investigated the discovery of bones that were suspected to be those of a person. They were determined to be animal bones.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s office recorded 88 cremations in the county in the past year. The number of cremations has continued to increase. Strobl said the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in cremations across the state. Funeral homes have been overwhelmed, she said.

It’s become an issue for her office as well. She said funeral homes are overwhelmed and have been unable to retrieve bodies that have been brought to the examiner’s office in the city of Ramsey.

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