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Cops await autopsy on woman found dead in icy backyard

Suffolk homicide detectives are waiting for the results of an autopsy on a 91-year-old woman found dead in the snow and ice-covered backyard of her North Babylon home.

It's unclear whether weather conditions contributed to the death of Lillian Trees, or when the autopsy would be completed, Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick said.

Trees' son found her Tuesday at about 2:16 p.m. at the bottom of her rear stoop, dressed in a coat, hat and boots, said Fitzpatrick, who is commanding officer of the county's homicide squad.

Fitzpatrick said it wasn't clear how long Trees had been outside before she died, but he said Trees was last seen alive Sunday.

Neighbor Kerri Gleason recalled seeing Trees Sunday afternoon - then watching from an upstairs bedroom window just days later as police investigated.

People who live on her block described Trees as a stern neighbor who regularly did manual labor - often with her bare hands - to maintain the two-story house at Rhoda Avenue and Parkdale Drive in which she'd lived for decades.

Susan Quinn, 50, said Trees was "definitely in good shape." "If she was outside two days after a snowstorm," Quinn said, "it's not a surprise."

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