Decomposing body found in dead woman's closet

JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va. (AP) -- A woman going through her dead mother's closet made a gruesome discovery -- the body of another woman decomposing and wrapped in plastic, blankets and a sleeping bag.

The body was found April 3, and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department is trying to confirm the identity. The discovery was made a day after Beatrice Magaha died on the way to the hospital after suffering a stroke outside her home and hitting her head.

The next day, the daughter and her husband called police after being overwhelmed by the smell coming from the closet. Sgt. R.S. Sell said Wednesday he found the body of an elderly woman wrapped in layers on the closet floor.

The body appeared to have been there for a while, and an autopsy turned up no evidence of foul play. The death is being treated as suspicious.

DNA samples were taken, and it could be several weeks before lab results are available, Sell said.

Sell said another woman had lived with Magaha but family members had not seen her for a year or two. The couple told Sell that whenever they visited Magaha, she would not allow them inside her home, located about 15 miles south of Martinsburg.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)


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