Updated: Woman found in stranded vehicle dies; husband found dead earlier

Updated: Woman found in stranded vehicle dies; husband found dead earlier

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Colleen and Donald Soper

Colleen and Donald Soper, both 87, have both died since the couple was reported missing by family members on Thanksgiving Day. 

MADISON — An 87-year-old woman who was found alongside her dead husband in their vehicle in western Dane County on Saturday morning has died at a local hospital, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office said.

Colleen Soper was taken to Meriter Hospital in critical condition after she and her husband, Donald Soper, also 87, were found in a vehicle that had apparently become stuck on a remote trail in the town of Vermont at about 10:20 a.m. Saturday. She died Saturday night, Lt. Brian Mikula said.

The couple disappeared on Thanksgiving Day after leaving a family gathering in Black Earth at about 3 p.m. that day, authorities said. Family members reported them missing after they failed to show up at their destination.

Authorities searched for the couple through Friday and into Saturday until their vehicle was found.At about 10:20 a.m. Saturday, the Sopers’ black Dodge Caliber was found on a remote trail outside the unincorporated community of Vermont, which is about five miles from Black Earth. The vehicle appeared to be stuck, and both Sopers were seated inside.

Donald was found dead at the scene, and Colleen was taken to Meriter Hospital in critical condition.

The couple’s disappearance triggered a statewide Silver Alert, which is a system of informing the public when an adult with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another permanent cognitive impairment is missing.

In a separate incident, a Silver Alert was issued in August after Colleen Soper was reported missing. She was found safe.

The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office is continuing to investigate the couple’s cause of death, Mikula said.


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