Created on Monday, 14 February 2011 10:12
Investigators from the Cape May County, New Jersey prosecutor’s office were spending Valentine’s Day canvassing the bars and other haunts in Sea Isle City, looking for information on what happened to a Montgomery County woman who died there on Valentine’s Day two years ago. Tracy Hottenstein of Conshohocken, who was 35 at the time, died of hypothermia due to exposure, complicated by acute intoxication on alcohol. She walked into the water in her socks at a time when the wind chill was 21 degrees. She also had three cracked ribs and bruises and scrapes, all consistent with a fall. She had gone there with friends for the annual Polar Bear Plunge, where people jump into the icy ocean to raise money for charity during the daytime and pack the bars at night. The coroner found the death accidental, but investigators say she spent most of the day in bars, and she was visibly drunk by late afternoon, but she was still being served. Her parents, Charles and Elizabeth Hottenstein of Telford, have filed a federal lawsuit blaming city officials, bars that kept serving her and a man who said he would look after her. Their daughter was a 1991 graduate of Souderton Area High School, where she was co-captain of the cheerleading team.