Rachael Ray's Aunt Dies After Being Locked Outside Home in Freezing Cold

Dec 12, 2013 11:24 AM EST | By Dina Exil

Rachael Ray's holiday season will be a little less merrier. 

According to The National Enquirer, Ray's family suffered tragedy over the Thanksgiving holiday when the chef's elderly aunt died after getting locked out of the home she was house-sitting, in upstate New York on Nov. 29.

Geraldine Scuderi was house-sitting for Ray's mother, Elsa Scuderi, when she reportedly locked herself out of the house and later collapsed in the freezing cold temperature. Around 4 p.m. Scuderi reportedly went outside to feed the birds and was not able to get back in the house.

The 77-year-old elderly woman reportedly tried breaking a window to get back inside, but died of exposure after the temperature decreased to nine Fahrenheit. Her body was found the following day.

"At some point in the evening, I suspect that, because of her [chronic lung problems], she had trouble breathing and collapsed in the driveway and basically died there," Ray's cousin, Gina Mesnick, told the magazine. "Her body wasn't found until the following morning."

Mesnick told The National Enquirer that Scuderi is "dead today because the Ray family neglected her." The article claimed Scuderi was not left a key to re-enter the home. Scuderi was supposedly assigned to house-sit the home for a week, along with another sitter, and was being paid $300 for her services.

"There's security camera footage that shows my poor mom trying desperately to break a window with a rock to get back in as well as to gain access to the garage door by way of a keypad that had been previously disconnected without her knowledge," Mesnick said.

According to the Warren County sheriff's office, there is no suspicion surrounding her death and there will be no investigation. The Food Network star and her producer husband John Cusimano, were reportedly unable to attend the funeral on Dec. 5 due to prior work commitments, but the celebrity chef was able to pay her respects privately.

"Her tape schedule could not be rescheduled partly because Rachael was committed to a live television broadcast on December 6 followed by a cross country book tour," Ray's rep told MailOnline on Wednesday. "Rachael has paid her respects privately and will spend more time with her family when she returns home."

Ray has not released a statement about the tragedy.


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