A California woman lived for more than a year with the decomposing corpse of an octogenarian whom she claimed was her mother, authorities alleged.
On Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s coroner identified the deceased woman as 80-year-old Birgit Almgren.
Law enforcement first learned of her death during the late morning hours of Aug. 23, 2022, when officers with the Petaluma Police Department (PPD) responded to a San Francisco Bay Area-residence in order to perform a welfare check on the resident after neighbors reported a vast accumulation of packages on the front porch.
Additionally, neighbors told police, Almgren hadn’t been seen for “several weeks,” at least, according to an initial press release.
“It was reported, approximately 20-30 packages were stacked on the porch, and no one would answer the door when attempts were made by neighbors,” the PPD said. “Upon arrival, officers also made numerous attempts to contact the resident which were unsuccessful.”
Police then gained entry to the home, they said, and “located a deceased female inside the living room area of the home and a second adult female in a bedroom who claimed to be the decedent’s daughter.”
Due to the “advanced stages of decomposition” of the corpse, police determined that Almgren had been dead for more than a year.
“The adult female contacted inside the residence cooperated with officers and confirmed the victim had died of natural causes in April of 2021,” the NPD release explained. “Based on her condition, the adult female who had been contacted inside the residence, was transported to an area hospital for medical evaluation and treatment.”
Law enforcement initially declined to identify the deceased woman. In identifying the woman, however, the coroner had yet to identify her exact cause of death. Criminal investigators are conducting a “suspicious death” inquiry, according to San Francisco-based MyNetworkTV affiliate KRON.
In an interview with the TV station, PPD Lieutenant Jeremy Walsh said detectives will look into the daughter’s “actions or inactions which could have contributed to her deterioration and ultimate death.”
Police believe the daughter herself did not leave the house since stay-at-home warnings that were issued by the Sonoma County Health Officer in the county’s initial efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Based on statements made, detectives believe she has not left the house, other than to go to the mailbox, since the beginning of March of 2020,” Walsh continued. “All her living essentials were ordered online and having them delivered to the home. This included daily meal deliveries.”
Police also said they obtained a search warrant to conduct a “thorough processing” of the scene of the potential crime. Additionally, the inside of the residence was determined to be “uninhabitable [and] a City of Petaluma Code Enforcement Officer responded to the scene and issued a red tag.”
Walsh added in comments to the local outlet that the investigation would also seek to determine whether the daughter improperly obtained any financial benefits that belonged to her mother.
According to KRON, police are declining to release information about the daughter, except to say that she is “middle-aged.”
Law&Crime reached out to the Petaluma Police Department for additional information on this story but no response was immediately forthcoming as of the time of publication.
[image via screengrab/KTVU]
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