THE VERY LATEST: Preliminary cause of death released for UW-L student

(WEAU) - We now know what may have caused the death of UW-La Crosse student Neala Frye, 23.

Preliminary findings from her autopsy show hypothermia and intoxication were contributing factors in her death. That's according to the La Crosse County medical examiner's office.

The Onalaska Police Department says Frye was last seen at the Spillway Pub Saturday night.

Officers found her body just 300 feet away from 1st Avenue near the railroad tracks.

Onalaska police say if you have any information call (608) 781-9550.


(WEAU) – The La Crosse community came out to pay tribute to a young life lost as police search for answers in her death.

Officers still don't know what happened to the 23-year-old student. Onalaska Police say Neala Frye, who attended UW-La Crosse, was last seen at the Spillway Pub Saturday night. She was working a promotional event there.

She never came home and missed her shift at Menards.

They say her friends searched near the railroad tracks around 1st Avenue South and found some of her credit cards. That's when officers found her dead about 300 feet from the tracks.

Her cause of death is still under investigation and police are asking anyone with information to call.

Monday night, family, friends and co-workers gathered to remember her, sharing stories, and comforting one another.

What is usually a bustling area full of stores, cars, and shoppers took on an eerie silence. More than 60 people saying goodbye to Frye with candles, messages and hugs to one another.

"Always smiling, positive, definitely outgoing, she was wonderful," said Ashley Mosher who came out to the vigil.

For those who knew her best, it's been a tough 48 hours.

"You know, dumb stuff that happens at work everyday and you just get frustrated but she would just say, "everything is going to be fine, it's going to be all good," said Samantha Ginksy, who came out tonight.

The Body and Sol Tanning and Massage center is one of the places where Neala worked as well.
Monday night, it was a gathering spot for stories and healing, a time to re-focus on the traits that made Neala shine.

"Around work just calling her when she's at the other location and you needed someone to talk to when your frustrated, and just having someone to cheer you up," said Alyssa Coughlin, who worked with Frye.

And while the coming days will be about waiting for answers, Monday night was a time to stop, reflect and remember.

"I wish more people had her outlook on life," Ginsky added.


ONALASKA, Wis. (AP) -- Western Wisconsin police are investigating the death of a 23-year-old woman found in a ditch.

Neala Frye was found Sunday night after a daylong search in Onalaska.

Police say they don't suspect foul play and alcohol and weather may have played a role. The cause of death hasn't been determined.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student was last seen at a local pub Saturday night, where she and another woman were working a promotional event for a tanning and massage studio.

When Frye failed to show up for work Sunday morning, friends and family began to search for her.

Several of her credit cards were found near railroad tracks near the bar and Onalaska Police Chief Jeff Trotnic says her body was eventually found about 300 from the tracks.