The last time anyone saw Gauri Kumari Bayak alive, she was gathering grass and firewood.
Considered impure because she was menstruating, she was about to sleep outside in a cold hut. She never woke up, The New York Times has reported.
According to the police, Ms Bayak is the latest victim of a very old tradition in rural Nepal, in which religious Hindus believe that menstruating women are unclean and should be banished from the family home.
She was found dead on Monday, apparently having asphyxiated after building a small fire inside the hut to keep warm.