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January 14, 2014

Police: How woman found wrapped in tarps died remains mystery

Police officials say they may never know for sure what caused the death of a woman whose body was found in the back bedroom of a west Wichita house last week.

Police officials say they may never know for sure what caused the death of a woman whose body was found in the back bedroom of a west Wichita house last week.

The body was wrapped in tarps in the house at 155 S. Nevada and discovered Friday by officers sent to check on the welfare of a 69-year-old man who lived there, police have said. The man was also found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“It was filled with trash and very unsanitary,” Lt. Todd Ojile said of the small house in an e-mail response to questions.

However, he added, he wouldn’t call the place “a hoarder’s house.”

The body wrapped in tarps “was under several bags of trash,” he said.

Investigators think the body is that of an 88-year-old woman, but her identity has not been confirmed. She is thought to be the mother of the man found elsewhere in the house.

“We cannot rule out foul play at this time, but we just don’t know yet,” Ojile said. “It is possible she died of natural causes.”

While an autopsy has been conducted, he said, further tests will be needed to confirm the identity due to the condition of the body.

The man who lived there had been dead for “a few days,” Ojile said, and authorities aren’t sure when he killed himself.

A neighbor called 911 last week after noticing mail piling up at the house and not seeing the elderly neighbor for several days. Officers found the two bodies when they forced their way into the house shortly before 7 p.m. Friday.

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