Murder Case Opened After Funeral Director Finds Wound
Myrtle McKinney was initially thought to have died of natural causes
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2015 12:46 PM CST
A view of Manhattan from Brooklyn, where Myrtle McKinney's body was found.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – "It's just a horrible circumstance ... that she was in Kings County morgue for a month before we saw this," said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert K. Boyce Wednesday. The "she" is Myrtle McKinney, an 82-year-old Brooklyn woman who was found dead on her kitchen floor on Nov. 9. What wasn't seen until very recently was the stab wound in her neck. Instead, it was initially determined that McKinney died of natural causes, and no detectives ever investigated the scene, reports the New York Times. Boyce said at a press conference that detectives "couldn't get to the scene," though he didn't specify why. Instead, the patrol officers who found her after responding to a well-being check took note of the lack of evidence of forced entry and her poor health (which included diabetes and hypertension).

There was no autopsy, and the story might have ended there were it not for the funeral director readying her body, who observed the small wound on the back of her neck. An autopsy then revealed three broken ribs and further blunt force trauma to the head and torso. As for who might have killed McKinney, the Times on Tuesday quoted Boyce as saying his department had leads that it was keeping confidential. The New York Daily News reports McKinney's own family had earlier suspected she was murdered, pointing out that her body was found in an awkward position under a table. There are conflicting reports about potentially missing funds; the Times reports a neighbor helped her review her bank statements a few days before her death after she expressed fears a relative was taking her money; the neighbor said he spotted nothing amiss.