KERMIT An elderly man who left home to go pick blackberries this past Wednesday died of a possible heat-related stroke, according to a spokesman for the Williamson detachment of the West Virginia State Police.
Troopers said 76-year-old Jasper Blackburn left his home on Marrowbone Creek to pick berries just before noon. A family member reported him missing around 4 p.m., and his body was found around 11 p.m.
Trooper J.D. Matheny was the lead investigator in the case. Although the WVSP does not have an official cause of death at this time, they said it is a possible combination of health issues and exposure to extreme heat.
Sgt. M.S. Lively said Blackburn was found about three miles from his home, which may have been a result of disorientation, which is one symptom of heat stroke.
"No matter what your condition is, you have to know your limitations and what you're capable of," Lively said.
Persons who work outside during the summer should drink plenty of water and wear light clothing, experts say. Elderly people are at an extra risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
n Throbbing headache
n Dizziness and light-
n Lack of sweating despite the heat
n Red, hot, and dry skin
n Muscle weakness or cramps
n Nausea and vomiting
n Rapid heartbeat