Authorities responding to a neighbor's report of a foul odor found malnourished 3-week-old twins under a bed in an apartment containing their mother's decomposing remains.

Both infants were taken to a hospital Friday, where one, a girl, later died. Her twin brother was in critical condition Saturday. Authorities said their 36-year-old mother appeared to have been dead for several days.

Police Sgt. Jack Fahrnow would not say whether there were signs of foul play.

Emergency crews who found the woman noticed car seats and other baby items in the apartment, leading to a more thorough search.

When a paramedic bumped the bed the twins were underneath, one of the babies made a faint cry. The other twin was too weak.

"It was a miracle the paramedic noticed the child seat in the apartment and that the police questioned where the children were," said Eric Gourley, a Johnson County Med-Act battalion chief.

An autopsy was planned to determine a cause of death for the woman. Fahrnow said the surviving twin was "hanging on."

The discovery shook emergency crews, who asked to see a chaplain upon returning to headquarters.

"Dealing with babies and small children is very stressful," Gourley said. "The little ones get close to you."

Neighbors said they became worried when they had not seen the woman for several days. Betsy Clayton said she spoke to the woman in passing and that she appeared to be pregnant about a month ago.

She also said she had seen the woman with children who were toddlers.

Three women who said they were friends of the dead woman said she was living alone. One said she had visited the woman in the hospital after she had given birth to the twins.

Police said they are looking for possible relatives of the woman in the area.