(KRON) — A Ukiah woman concealed her mother’s death and hid her skeletal remains in order to access her finances, according to the City of Ukiah Police Department. Ukiah PD was contacted last month by a man who reported suspicious circumstances following the death of his 58-year-old sister.
The man, who was from out of state, had traveled to Ukiah after learning that his sister was hospitalized. By the time he arrived, she had already passed away, according to police.
The man told police that his elderly mother had lived in the same home as the sister when he last had contact with her in 2013. He told police he’d been informed his mother had passed away in August of 2013.
As his mother was in poor health, her death was not suspicious at the time, he said. The man told police he was advised by his sister that the mother’s remains had been sent to a medical research facility, in keeping with her wishes.
The sister continued to live at the home following the death of the mother.
While the man was in Ukiah attending estate matters, he went to the house and found numerous financial documents in his mother’s name. The documents included recent banking and checking account activity, according to police. The man found this odd as his mother’s accounts should have been closed.
This led him to contact Ukiah PD. UPD detectives were informed of the circumstances and began an investigation. Investigators soon learned there was no official record of the mother’s passing, like a death certificate.
Based on recent banking activity and the lack of documentation around the mother’s death, police began to suspect the sister of hiding the death from officials to keep her accounts open. Documents police found in the home supported this suspicion.
During a search of the property conducted as part of the investigation, skeletal remains were discovered. The remains were positively identified as the mother’s by the coroner’s office. A county forensic pathologist examined the remains and identified the cause of death as natural.
Based on all the evidence gathered, police concluded that the sister had concealed the mother’s death to financially benefit via fraud following her passing. With the sister also now deceased, no evidence suggesting a homicide, and a lack of additional leads, police say the case is no longer being investigated.