Virginia woman hid mother’s decomposing body under blankets, air fresheners: police

A Virginia woman hid her mother’s decomposing body inside their home for weeks, covering the corpse with dozens of blankets and surrounding it with air fresheners to mask the smell, authorities said.

Jo-Whitney Outland, 55, of Bristol, Va., was charged last week with felony concealment of a body. Bristol police detective Steve Crawford said the investigation began Monday when Outland’s relatives were concerned about the welfare of her mother Rosemary Outland. Investigators believe Rosemary Outland, 78, died in late December.

Crawford said a letter found at the home and written by Outland appeared to indicate her mother died on Dec. 29, and she tried to revive her with CPR.

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Crawford said authorities discovered the body propped up in a chair and covered with more than 50 blankets and pieces of clothing and more than 60 air fresheners. He said medical examiners will confirm the identification and cause of death.

“I’ve handled a lot of deceased people but nothing of this magnitude,” Crawford said. “It’s bizarre.”

Crawford said Rosemary’s body was discovered after a relative climbed in the house through a window after they had not heard from her. He said dogs and cats were discovered living in the home but have been taken out of the residence by animal control.

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Outland told WJHL-TV on Thursday that she had covered her mother’s body out of respect.

"Yes, I put air fresheners around her body because I was in the room with her every night after she died, except for this past Monday... I covered her up out of respect for my mother, and I covered her up with blankets, yes I did," Outland told WJHL-TV.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.