West Virginia Woman Finds Decomposing Body in Dead Mother's Closet

Thursday , April 10, 2008




The daughter and son-in-law of a Charles Town woman who died made a gruesome discovery while going through her bedroom closet — the decomposing body of another woman wrapped in plastic, blankets and a sleeping bag.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department is trying to identify the corpse found April 3, a day after Beatrice Magaha suffered a stroke outside her home and hit her head. Magaha, who was in her early 60s, was discovered by her daughter and died on the way to the hospital, Sgt. R.S. Sell said Wednesday.

The next day, the daughter and her husband called police after being overwhelmed by the smell coming from the closet.

Sell said he found the body of an elderly woman wrapped in layers on the closet floor. It appeared to have been there for a while.

While an autopsy turned up no evidence of foul play, Sell said the death is being treated as suspicious.

DNA samples were taken from the body in an attempt to identify the remains. 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. They also told Sell that whenever they visited Magaha, she would not allow them inside her home.