Body Found Behind Waffle House One of Two Homeless Hypothermia Deaths Last Week

Springfield police have identified the body of the man found Thursday behind Waffle House at Kansas Expressway and I-44 as 58-year-old Andrew Rodiger.

While Rodiger’s death drew significant media attention, his was not the only hypothermia death in the homeless community last week. As investigators say Rodiger may have been behind the Waffle House for a few days, two men could have died from the same frigid night.

The location of the second homeless hypothermia death in Springfield last week.

Greene County Chief Forensic Investigator Tom Van De Berg told OI that another homeless man died from hypothermia after being found behind Midnight Rodeo in Springfield. Springfield police found the man around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 22 and he was transported to Mercy hospital where he died about an hour later.

Springfield Police Department spokeswoman Jasmine Bailey said the man has not yet been identified and that no foul play is suspected in that death.

That makes Rodiger’s death the third among the homeless population in Springfield, as 62-year-old David Herbel was found dead in Grant Beach Park on December 21.

Van De Berg said that usually the county will see one or two homeless deaths a year from hypothermia.

Van De Berg also told OI that there have been an unusually high number of hypothermia related deaths this year. In one instance, an elderly woman fell outside of her home in the evening and was not discovered until the next morning. Another person died from hypothermia after passing out on the floor of their apartment.

With extreme cold forecast the next few days, emergency shelters are opening for the homeless in the area.

The Salvation Army announced they will open an emergency shelter to help other area shelters with overflow. Men and women without children will be able to find shelter at Harbor House, 636 N. Boonville. Individuals with children under 18 years old can find shelter at 1707 W. Chestnut Expressway with check-in at the Family Enrichment Center entrance.

For the Salvation Army shelters, a picture I.D. is required and Sex Offender Background Checks will be performed.

Harbor House will also stay open as a warming center throughout the day.

Another emergency shelter for women is housed at the COuncil of Churches of the Ozarks, 627 N. Glenstone Avenue. Women can enter the Council of Churches fellowship hall at 9 p.m. and must leave by 7 a.m..

An emergency men’s shelter is located at East Sunshine Church of Christ, 3721 E. Sunshine Strret. Doors open at 8 p.m. and those seeking shelter must leave by 7 a.m.

City Utilities busses will provide free transport to shelters from 7-11 p.m. and rides from shelters from 8-9 a.m. the next morning if a rider tells the driver they are going to those shelters.

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