That a 94-year-old was found dead would not typically make national headlines, but the case of Hope Ruller is a bizarre one: The New York woman's decomposing body may have sat in her apartment for as long as 14 months—as her daughter, Mary Kirsteen, and Kirsteen's adult son lived upstairs. Police in Gloversville came upon the body Dec. 29 after responding to a relative's request that Ruller be checked on, reports the AP. The death is being treated as suspicious, though a cause of death couldn't be determined due to "severe" decomposition. "But they are able to rule out blunt force trauma or penetrating objects," says the town's police chief.
District Attorney Louise Sira tells Time Warner Cable News that "often times, when people fail to report the death of an elderly person, perhaps there is financial motive," and she references a 2003 case in the county in which a son didn't report his mother's death and continued to collect her Social Security payments. There's no indication, however, that that occurred in this case, though police have subpoenaed the family's financial records. (In 2013, a corpse was found in a Paris apartment eight years after the man's death.)