CINCINNATI – The mummified body of a woman who didn't want to be buried was found in a chair in front of her television set 2 1/2 years after her death, authorities said.
Pope died in August 2003 at age 61. Her body was found last week in the upstairs of her home on a quiet street. Some family members continued to live downstairs, authorities said. No one answered the doorbell at Pope's home Monday afternoon.
It could take weeks to determine Pope's cause of death because little organ tissue was available for testing, Owens said.
An air conditioner had been left running upstairs, and that allowed the body to slowly mummify, he said. The machine apparently stopped working about a month ago, and the body began to smell.
"Standing outside, one could smell death," Owens said.
Police went to the house last Wednesday after receiving a call from a relative who hadn't seen Pope in years. They found a staircase behind a door blocked by a basket and climbed to the second floor, where they found the body.
It was not clear if any crimes were committed, Owens said.
Authorities did not identify the caregiver, a women in her 40s who apparently lived in the home with Pope, Pope's daughter and her 3-year-old granddaughter.
"The caregiver is not someone you'd think was from another planet or really seems off the wall -- (she's) a pretty normal kind of person," he said. "But I think out of loyalty, friendship and love of her friend, (she) decided to keep the body at home."