Old lady lays dead unnoticed in home for 8 years


What does it say about us as a civilised society when an old lady can lay dead for 8 bloody years in her home and go unnoticed, uncared for,and just forgotten about?  I am sure more details will emerge but seriously, electricity, gas, water, bills, phone,inspections? Somehow someone has failed this woman. Is it criminal who knows, but something is terribly wrong when a person can die in her home in the 21st Century in a capital city in Australia, and nobody notices for 8 long years!

keletal remains believed to be those of an elderly woman last seen in 2003 have been found in an inner Sydney unit

SKELETAL remains believed to be those of an elderly woman last seen in 2003 have been found in an inner Sydney unit.

Police found the remains on the floor in an upstairs bedroom of the Surry Hills home yesterday at noon.

A relative of the elderly woman told police she had not been seen since 2003.

The remains have not been identified, but the death is not believed to have been suspicious.

The woman would have turned 87 in August, police say.

A coronial report will be prepared.

Acting Superintendent Zoran Dzevlan of Surry Hills Local Area Command said it was sad the woman died without anybody noticing.

“This serves as a reminder for people to keep a neighbourly eye on those who live in their area, especially the elderly,” he said.

17 thoughts on “Old lady lays dead unnoticed in home for 8 years

  1. Yeah makes you wonder, 8 years is along while!!
    What happened to the good old days of the postmen, taking note of an over following mailbox??
    Then letting someone know?? But it seems every service provider has not done the right thing here. Electricity, gas, water, bills, phone, inspections, Council rates?? Id say these may of been cut off years ago?? I dare say the relatives if she has any left, will come out of the woodwork for any property or possessions????
    If she had a phone but wasn’t using it, she still would receive bills for Line & phone rental??
    Well In Victoria that’s about $25??
    Council rates, knowing councils if they don’t get their money they try & sell your house to recoup money?? Hmmmmmmmm!!
    Like you say Robbo, she has been let down terribly..
    Bigmouth….

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    • Hi BM I have been away taking care of some family business but great to see you in here adding to the community with your comments and debate! I used to be a postie and made an effort to chat to the old people on my round.I was maybe the only person they spoke to for weeks, I would be riding down one side of the road, and these old folks would already be slowly making there way out to the letterbox to say gidday in the hope they have a letter. I used to give them a old flyer if I had to as an excuse to stop.I am sure I made their day in some small way.

      No bastard has time to make eye contact these days let alone engage with another stranger…Friggin unreal mate

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      • Gidday Robbo.

        Comes too light today, she did have a sister in law, bad-blood between the two??
        No contact since 2003??
        No Family..
        Centre-Link were still paying her pension into her banking account..
        Well as for the mail thing, mailbox flap in door going by picture?
        Can you imagine the 8 years of mail & junk mail behind that door?
        Technology, yeah its a good thing automation paying bills as mentioned above, yeah a good thing, easy convenient, but in these times human contact eye to eye is lost????
        Whatever happens with Neighbourhood watch????????????????????
        You were a postie?? Rain,Hot sun,cold, wind, dogs, bad drivers??
        Miss it????
        Cheers Bigmouth………..

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  2. It’s just terrible isn’t it. I think the bills may be all automated now, so that’s a problem. A lot of people should give some thought to this though, and be nice to the elderly, as so many childless couples now, one partner dies, it could happen to you! A lot of the animal rescues are because no-one’s looking after an elderly person and they aren’t bad, just frail and can’t manage. We really need to lift our game to the elderly in this country.

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    • Hi Leanne, it is ironic that without blinking an eye, we ask neighbours to watch or feed our pets etc when we are away, but old relatives/neighbours/other known parties must get out of sight out of mind!

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  3. Yes Robbo, it’s so true what you say. We have a small farm and are often minding other people’s pets when they go away. We do try not to take in their grandparents though, but fly our father-in-law here for his holiday and to his place for our holiday to check on him. It takes us a whole day to get his his place in Yeppoon, from Regional Vic, but we do it anyway. I try to be aware of the elderly, as I remember when I was a teen, I ran away and moved into Nanna’s house for a while. She was widowed young and was a very independant woman. She was always at our place visiting and no-one ever checked on her house. I realised then though that the house hadn’t been painted for 20 years and was generally not that clean and tidy, as she really couldn’t manage on her own anymore, but was too embarrassed to say. I remember her telling me that she knows there’s a stain on this wall and that place and she just hasn’t the strength to fix it. I then remember charging back to mum and dad’s to tell dad off that he should go and help his mother. I ended up painting her house and cleaning myself, which I was old and strong enough to do. That little run away from home helped me realise that we need to check on the elderly and instead of pickng them up and dropping them off at their front door, we need to go in, have a cup of tea and a look around. If you’re not even doing that, make even a day a month and do it!

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    • Thank you Leanne for restoring my faith here…We cannot FORGET about our elders like we seem to forget about records and CD’s and petrol under a dollar…How important NOT!!!! have we all become to get to this stage…

      Once again Leanne thanks for being so honest! All the best to your fogeys’ !!!!

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  4. It’s deplorable that it came to this.She must of been so alone as it was.On the news the neighbours had not seen nor heard anyone in years.What kind of people are they? Ignorant & living with blinkers on.My neighbour across the road is a war vet and we love him & his wife.I am disgusted with people these days I really am.Poor old dear.I hope she finds peace now.

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    • You must be disgusted with me too, then. I have no idea who my neighbours are and like it that way. The idea of living on a “Ramsey St” with people in each others’ business makes me shudder. I tried that once (getting to know the neighbours) and it was a nightmare – never again for this little black duck.

      Perhaps the family should cop some flack for not checking on her but why blame people who just happen to live in the vicinity? Some may well have moved in after she died and never known she existed…

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      • Perplexed, I tend to agree that it is annoying when you have neighbours that want to know everything – but I think the broader argument is more about just being aware of who lives around you and their habits. Knowing what sort of cars are hanging around, peoples waking hours, different dogs barking, walks to the mailbox etc.. all allow a neighbour to realise when something is odd. This isn’t just about dying in your home, it is about burglaries, assaults and feeling safe. Living in the same street/building is like living in the same village. And to me, you should always want to know who is around you, and what is right for them. That doesn’t mean over the fence chats every couple of days – it just means keeping your eyes open.

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      • We’ll just have to disagree politely on this one. Being a Mrs Kravitz (watching from behind the curtains) or living next to one just doesn’t appeal to me either. I don’t CARE what my neighbors are up to and I appreciate the same indifference from them. I take care of my business & let them take care of theirs. I smile & wave to a few of them, but that’s strictly as far as it goes. I wouldn’t have a clue what their names are.

        I don’t agree that a street is a “village”. It’s just a place where a lot of people have their houses. If I wanted to live in a village I would never have moved away from a country town I lived in (NIGHTMARE!). No, I LIKE the anonymity of living on an urban area. I’ve spoken to a number of people who feel the same. As for feeling safe – well we take care of that ourselves, too. I’d be willing to bet I feel safer than many, many people do – inside my home and out, simply because I DON’T rely on strangers I’m the vicinity. We look after ourselves. This isn’t to say I wouldn’t intervene if I saw someone being mugged, for example, I would. But I don’t rely on my neighbours to save me. That way lies disappointment, at least.

        You know, it’s entirely possible that this woman actually LIKED being alone – some people do.

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  5. What a sad ending to what must have been a lonely life. I read on a news site that there had been a falling out between this lady and her brother and sister-in-law years ago. The sister in law had only recently became concerned after trying to contact the woman after an event in the family. Whatever the reason, our welfare system must now admit that too many of our vulnerable citizens are unsupported and uncared for. I used to work for a company that conducted daily call checks on many elderly people living alone or were really unwell. I think more funding needs to be made available for these types of home care, safety and wellness initiatives. It is ridiculous that the government kept paying her pension, it never being touched and no alarm bells rang anywhere! FAIL.

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  6. Elaine.
    Now your post read has clarified & made things allot clearer??
    What I don’t understand is WHY, if their was bad blood between the two, Why Ms Wood’s mail had been redirected years ago to her sister-in-law who lives in the Sydney area, but that stopped some time ago.? If there was no mail at the house!! Where was it going after she stopped it??? It says Officers who made the grim discovery said there was no sign of mail piling up at her house???
    This poor old sole has been let down BIG TIME……………….
    Bigmouth……

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    • Hi BM. The mail thing is a mystery. I was thinking – and this is just A theory – perhaps the State Trustees were managing (loosing the term loosely!) here mail / bills? I have no idea how they administer their services but it seems weird that some sort of bureaucracy had not needed to site or communicate with Natalie Wood for whatever reason. Junk mail gets thrown out by others, bills redirected to Trustee’s….? It has me stumped.
      The smell – did no-one smell anything?

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      • Quite some time ago I was visiting a friend at his flat & there was a terrible smell. I asked what it was & he said the land agents were investigating the sewer as the smell had been worse but was fading. It turned out that the woman upstairs had died a couple of weeks before. This was not discovered for another week – after the sewer was given the ok.

        I also read somewhere that both Jeffrey Dahmer and the serial killer they just caught in the U.S. (can’t for the life of me think of his name) both had awful smells in their houses that people just wrote off as inconsequential, at most annoying because really, who thinks “hmmm.. Bad smell – there must be a human corpse nearby”?

        I guess that it’s possible, given she lived in a self-contained house, that no smell made it outside strongly enough to be detected…

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