Grisly Find in Hoarder Home: Mom's Mummified Remains

Daughter says she didn't report the death because of home's condition

By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 14, 2014 8:42 AM CDT

(Newser) – A woman who appears to be a reclusive hoarder in an upscale neighborhood in Gilbert, Ariz., didn't call the cops when her 98-year-old mother died in 2010. Janet Pallone Delatorre says "she 'panicked' and believed police would think Janet killed her based on the condition of the house," reads the police report. "Janet assumed the police would think Janet neglected her and that is why she died." So she left her mother in the bed where she apparently died, as her body essentially mummified, and where police found her when the house was foreclosed on recently.

For now, police are listing Josephine Pallone as a potential victim, reports the Arizona Republic, and they want to officially identify her, pinpoint a time of death, and investigate any signs of foul play. The property went into foreclosure when Delatorre failed to make payments and her ex-husband gained control of the house. A real estate agent and locksmith went to the house, where they found piles of trash and clothes, a pet bird that looked like it was being taken care of, and Pallone's remains in a bed, still clutching a blanket. (One hoarder recently died in Connecticut when her first floor collapsed under the weight of trash she'd collected.)

This photo provided by the City of Las Vegas via the Las Vegas Review-Journal shows a worker during a cleanup of hoarder Kenneth Epstein's home in Las Vegas.
This photo provided by the City of Las Vegas via the Las Vegas Review-Journal shows a worker during a cleanup of hoarder Kenneth Epstein's home in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/City of Las Vegas via Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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