Son dies in the cold attempting to get help for injured mother

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SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. -- An 84-year-old mother and her 60-year-old son were found dead outside their Spotsylvania County home Sunday morning. Viola Cox's body was discovered near the back steps of her Hams Ford Road home. It appeared she had fallen down the steps, investigators said. Her son Douglas Cox's body was discovered on a trail that connected the home to a neighbor's house. Investigators said it appeared Douglas Cox suffered a medical issue as he ran to get help for his mother. Both bodies had been out in the cold "for some time," investigators said. Overnight low temperatures in the area were around 10 degrees.

The Cox homes in Spotsylvania County (PHOTO: Eli Gardiner)

The Cox homes in Spotsylvania County (PHOTO: Eli Gardiner)

"This is a tragic set of circumstances that led to a very terrible ending for both people," Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office Captain Jeff Pearce said. "There was no forced entry into the house and no signs of trauma or violence to the victims."

A neighbor discovered both bodies at about 8:20 Sunday morning. The Medical Examiner in Richmond will determine the precise cause of death for both mother and son.

Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office Captain Jeff Pearce (PHOTO: Eli Gardiner)

Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office Captain Jeff Pearce (PHOTO: Eli Gardiner)

"Our initial investigation of this scene appears to show that Mrs. Cox suffered a medical emergency last night and as her son was attempting to summon aid by utilizing a trail leading to a neighbor’s house, he also suffered a medical emergency," Spotsylvania Sheriff Roger Harris said in a statement.

The investigation into the deaths remains on-going pending the the Medical Examiners report.