A paralyzed Missouri woman died on Saturday after getting trapped in her car, which ran out of gas on a highway amid record-breaking heat.
Megan Oxley, 36, was driving her two nieces from Kenneth, Missouri south on Highway 412 Friday night, when her black caravan died.
Her family had still not heard from her or the children by Saturday morning, and Megan’s sister, Amber Jones, decided it was time to call the Dunklin County Sheriff’s Department.
“I just assumed that maybe she stayed with someone or maybe someone had come and got her, but no one was able to get a hold of her,” Amber told KAIT. “And the next morning, we were pretty panicked, we called the cops and got them involved.”
Even though Oxley’s phone was already dead at that point, the sheriff’s department was able to get a ping from the device near County Road 522.
When they arrived, they found small footprints outside the black caravan — suggesting that the children were able to get out of the car at some point.
The two children were safe, and were transported to a local hospital for heat exhaustion.
But authorities also found Oxley dead in the driver’s seat.
Authorities later discovered that the two girls had tried to help Oxley climb out — but because she was paralyzed from the waist down and due to the children’s young age, they were unsuccessful.
Sheriff Bob Holder noted that the children were also too young to understand the danger that their aunt was in as temperatures climbed above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The children are now said to be in good condition, to the relief of their mothers.
“I am so thankful, I am so happy she is alive,” Megan’s sister, Melissa, said of her daughter. “I was terrified, very terrified.”
But, she said, she is also devastated about the loss of her sister.
“She was happy when I saw her last, she was smiling and talking to me,” Melissa recounted. “She was just so full of life.”
Amber also expressed her grief on Facebook, noting that it came not long after the death of their brother, Billy.
“Why do I have to live in a world where my siblings don’t? Why did they have to leave me so soon?” she asked on Saturday.
“My world is shattered. I am broken. I don’t know how we’re going to get through this.”
“Megan Oxley we always promised we would be sisters and best friends,” she continued.
“Life got in the way sometimes, but I never pictured my world without you. Even though you always made fun of my freckles and teased me for being younger, you were the big sister who I could always count on.
“I’ll love you forever.”