Petaluma police: Windsor Drive home where woman found with body of her mother ‘filled with clutter’

A short time after they found the body, police Lt. Jeremy Walsh said the responding police officers were “shocked to hear a female voice calling out from a bedroom.”|

Petaluma police found a shocking scene earlier this week inside the two-story, white house along Windsor Drive where they say a woman had been living with the decomposing remains of her mother for more than a year.

The home was “filled with clutter, trash and boxes from floor to ceiling,” police Lt. Jeremy Walsh said Thursday. “Small, almost (impassable) paths were carved out of the debris and created some challenges for the officers when they went inside the home.”

The mother’s body was found on a couch in the living room, Walsh said, adding, “Other than the living conditions inside the home, there was no unusual or obvious cause of death.”

A short time after they found the body, Walsh said, the responding police officers were “shocked to hear a female voice calling out from a bedroom.”

“After a slow and methodical process of clearing the debris, officers were able to safely get her out of the room and ultimately transported to an area hospital for medical treatment,” Walsh said. “

The gravity of the situation had triggered a preexisting medical condition but she was mobile, able to communicate and cooperate with officials and overall, appeared in good health, Walsh said.

Petaluma police were called to the home Tuesday after a request for a well-being check on the middle-aged woman who lived there who reportedly had not been seen for sometime.

Walsh said the welfare check was for the daughter. He added that the caller “indicated the elderly mother ‘used’ to live at the house but hadn’t been seen in over a year. The adult daughter hadn’t been seen in weeks and the (accumulation) of packages on the porch caused them to be concerned for her (the daughter’s) welfare.”

Walsh said based on statements the daughter has made to investigators she had not left the house since March 2020. She told officers her mother died of natural causes in April 2021.

“All her living essentials were ordered online,” Walsh said, adding that they were “being delivered to the home. This included daily meal deliveries.”

Authorities have not yet released the name of the deceased woman or the daughter.

The Sonoma County Coroner’s Office is continuing to work to positively identify the body and determine a cause of death.

Walsh said the investigation is still in its early stages and detectives “obviously have a lot of questions and a lot of work still to do on this ...”

He said investigators “will be looking into the circumstances (surrounding the mother’s) death, reviewing any available medical history, trying to locate any surviving friends or relatives for interviews, why exactly was her death never reported...”

He added that they also will be looking into financial records to determine if the mother continued to receive benefits after she died and if those were “inappropriately used.”

Investigators are also looking into whether there was any criminal negligence by the daughter as she was her mother’s sole caregiver when she was alive. Investigators will determine if her “actions or inactions ... contributed to (her mother’s) deterioration and ultimate death.”

You can reach Staff Writer Alana Minkler at 707-526-8511 or alana.minkler@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @alana_minkler.

Alana Minkler

Breaking news & general assignment reporter, The Press Democrat

The world is filled with stories that inspire compassion, wonder, laughs and even tears. As a Press Democrat reporter covering breaking news, tribes and youth, it’s my goal to give others a voice to share these stories.

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