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UPDATE: Veteran with dementia apparent got lost after leaving VA hospital late Christmas Eve.

PMG PHOTO: JOSEPH GALLIVAN - Recent snow in the Pearl District in Northwest Portland.The identity of the man who died from hypothermia on Christmas Day has been confirmed by officials.

Henry Steele was reported missing by his family late Thursday night, according to Portland police.

Steele reportedly got on a bus around 11 a.m. on Dec. 24 after leaving the Department of Veteran's Affairs Hospital in Southwest Portland. He was found deceased outside near North Columbia Boulevard.

On Tuesday, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner released a statement confirming Steele died from exposure to freezing temperatures. His identity was not released at the time.

KOIN 6 News reached out to the VA who responded with this statement:

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Veteran who tragically passed away.

Due to privacy laws, we are unable to address or acknowledge any specific Veteran who may have received care from VA Portland Health Care System.

VA Portland Health Care System has policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety and welfare of every Veteran we serve to the best of our ability. This includes assisting Veterans under our care who may request assistance, or who are known or suspected to have cognitive, physical or other challenges that may require assistance. This is to ensure our Veterans are provided safe and reliable transportation when they depart our facilities to reach their destination. VA Portland also provides many {obj:59456:travel solutions } for Veterans to and from their VA health care facilities in support of VA-sponsored medical appointments. This program offers services at little or no cost to eligible Veterans through the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), VA Veterans Transportation Services, VA shuttle busses, and, for eligible Veterans, reimbursement through Beneficial Travel."

Signs someone is experiencing hypothermia include shivering, confusion, slurred speech and drowsiness. Officials say symptoms of hypothermia are similar to signs someone is impaired from drugs or alcohol.

To avoid hypothermia and frostbite, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue suggests people go indoors periodically, along with wearing several layers.

"Especially watch your kids, because your kids could be really excited and just want to keep playing and playing and as that cold temperature starts to lower the body, our critical thinking skills aren't quite there, and it can become an impairment," said Heather Carpenter from TVF&R.

Anyone with concerns for someone, such as not being dressed for the weather, is urged to call the non-emergency line at 503-823-3333 or 911.

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.

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