(Daily Mail) – An elderly woman has been discovered in a decomposed state under piles of trash piled up to the ceiling of her home, authorities said.
Margareta Scheibe, 72, was found buried at her house after her son contacted police to say he had not seen her for several weeks.
Police first went to her home on Saturday to look but could not find the woman.
Her body was finally found yesterday after being dug out from under mounds of trash at her house in Worth, Illinois, investigators said.
Residents nearby said that rubbish was stuffed inside cars in the driveway while dozens of cats and possums roamed the property.
Mrs Scheibe died of heart disease and there was no sign of trauma, Cook County medical examiner’s office told the Chicago Tribune.
An emergency team entered the building wearing biohazard suits where they removed bag after bag of trash.
Shocked neighbours gathered outside the property which was zoned off by police tape.
One neighbour Kat Duchowicz told ABC7: ‘She would always sit and talk with you.
‘She was very personable. You would never suspect what was going on in the inside.’
Another, who asked not to be named, said that it was a ‘nasty’ situation and the rear of the property had been covered in tarpaulin so no one could see in.
Police were talking to family members to gain a fuller understanding of the situation although Mrs Schiebe was a known hoarder.
Mrs Scheibe’s husband reportedly died on Christmas Eve 2010 and her son, 46, lived at the property for a time.
Neighbours claimed the elderly woman’s hoarding became worse after the loss of her husband.
One of her sons told ABC that his mother, who had lived in Germany during the Second World War, had been hoarding supplies since he was a child.
Hoarding is a complex disorder made up of intertwining issues including collecting too many items, difficultly in disposing of junk and the inability to organise belongings.
These problems can lead to significant amounts of clutter, limiting the use of someone’s home and pose safety or health risks.
Not being aware of the seriousness of the problem is common among those who hoard.