Family believes their mother died from Arizona's heat after her car broke down

Heat deaths in Maricopa County have reached six so far this year, and another 87 are under investigation.

A family believes one of those victims was their mother who died after her car broke down on a day when the high reached 112 degrees.

After living in the Valley for two decades, the family of Angela Dwight believe she underestimated how far she was from home, especially in this Arizona summer heat.

Saturday, June 15, started out like any other day for Angela. She was working the morning shift as the head line cook at Denny’s, something she’s done for five years.

She was heading home when she got a flat tire.

"We had gotten a text from her just saying she was upset. They didn't have a spare, and she was like, 'just deal with the tow truck, and I'm going to walk home, I'm going to get home.' And then that's the last we heard from her," Maddie Dwight, her daughter, said.

Her daughter Lillian Dwight was at work as the afternoon hours went by. When the sun went down, she knew something was wrong.

"I got home, and I just saw my dad pacing about, like, 'I'm really concerned. I'm really worried. I'm afraid she's not OK,'" Lillian said.


Heat-related deaths up to 6 in metro Phoenix, dozens of others under investigation

Six people have died from heat-related causes so far this summer in metro Phoenix, but dozens of other deaths are still under investigation.

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She called 911 and the search began. The Goodyear Police Department sent out patrol cars, drones and K-9 officers, using Angela's clothes for her scent.

"It just kept escalating and escalating until eventually they got a helicopter and even that didn't pan out," Lillian said.

The family believes Angela's phone died because her location stopped pinging.

"We have her on the Life360 app or her location. It had stopped at a certain point, which was helpful for trying to find her, but after that and nobody could call, her phone would go straight to voicemail," Maddie explained.

Angela's body was found the next morning, on June 16.

"We've lived here our whole lives, and we hear all this about the heat. Every year it's so brutal. And, you know, she just probably wasn't thinking. I mean, the heat makes you do crazy things," Maddie said.

Her daughters want to keep other families from experiencing this pain.


"Always have supplies and just a backup plan because she doesn't have one. And that's where it ultimately fell apart," Lillian said.

Her kids say her car didn’t have air conditioning, and she was in her work uniform – black long sleeves and pants – which they believe contributed to her death.

Click here to help the family by donating to their GoFundMe.