Buffalo, New York (CNN) — Casey McCarron’s mom always seemed like a superwoman, but even then, when Monique Alexander decided to go out on Christmas Eve, McCarron worried.
It would have been an easy decision on any other day, but a blizzard was brewing that would leave parts of Western New York under more than 4 feet of snow.
He told CNN that McCarron was already interested after seeing Facebook announcements about the store’s closing.
But his mother wanted to leave and Alexander, 52, said he would be back soon, leaving without specifying where he was going. McCarron, who has lived with Alexander since August, said she thought her mother was trying to get to the stores before they closed.
Alexander, 52, never returned. His body was found a few meters away from his house.
“We were waiting for her to come home. However, I knew something was wrong, so I accepted it right away, but it’s hard to know that she’s been out for so long because the emergency services weren’t allowed,” McCarron said outside her family’s home Wednesday.
Alexander had met severe storms before, and he walked everywhere.
“She’s always felt like an invincible superwoman, so I think she can handle that,” McCarron said. “I couldn’t tell my mother what she wanted to do. I suppose she thought she was strong enough for that.”
Alexander left around 3 p.m., and a few hours later McCarron posted a message about his mother on a Facebook group for Buffalo residents coping with the increasingly inclement weather. About 15 minutes later, a stranger texted her and described her mom’s coat and blue jeans. Confirming that it was Alexander, she asked if he had seen her.
“Can I call you?” The stranger asked for the macaron.
Once on a video call, he promptly collapsed. When he saw Alexander in the snow, the man told him that he was stranded and was walking. He dismembered her body and placed her in a business awning that was not buried under snow.
Later, his body was recovered by the National Guard. Alexander was one of at least 37 dead in Erie County, 17 of whom were found outdoors, officials said, though the total is certain to rise.
McCarron said the family had lost their rock and someone they could call on for everything.
“My children lost their grandmother, the most important role in their lives … to be a good grandmother,” she said. “Now they only have memories.”