Senior’s lonely death repeats history

June 22, 2012
By

HYDE SQ.—An elderly woman living alone at 40 Sheridan St. was found dead there this month, almost exactly 12 years after a similar death at the address drew attention to neglected senior citizens.

Authorities have been unable to officially identify the woman. But the U.S. Postal Service letter carrier whose curiosity led the discovery of the body told the Gazette that she was Doris Warren, the home’s sole resident.

In May 2000, Doris Warren’s husband Raymont died in the home, and she wrapped his body in trash bags and hid it under a bed for nine days, as the Boston Globe reported at the time. City social workers discovered the body in the trash-strewn home and got Doris Warren psychiatric help, according to the Globe.

Letter carrier Erica Murphy wrote in an email to the Gazette that she contacted the police on June 7 after noticing Doris Warren’s mail piling up and getting no response to repeated door-knocking over several days.

Murphy said she watched as firefighters broke into the home and discovered the badly decomposed body of a woman who had been dead at least a week. The scene was “revolting,” she said.

The state medical examiner’s office has been unable to positively identify the body, according to spokesperson Terrel Harris.

In April 2011, the City’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD) investigated the property for a complaint of an elderly person living alone with no water since 2006. ISD closed the case without a resolution on May 18 of this year after being unable to gain access to the property, according to ISD spokesperson Lisa Timberlake.

An ISD report of that investigation said that the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) was working with the property owner on repairs, but DND spokesperson Kerry O’Brien said that is not correct.

ISD also received repeated complaints from a neighbor that the trees and bushes in front of the home were overgrown. One of the complaints was filed two days before the body was discovered.

The death of Raymont Warren in 2000 drew significant media and community attention. The City’s Elderly Affairs commissioner expressed distress, as did the neighbors who called authorities when Raymont Warren disappeared. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council questioned the actions of the police, who at first accepted Doris Warren’s story that Raymont had left the home after an argument, as the Gazette reported at the time.

The City’s press office did not respond to Gazette questions about whether the property has remained on the radar of the Elderly Affairs commission.

The current ownership status of the property is unclear. Timberlake said last week that ISD still had not gained access to the building.

Best of JP 2014