Elderly woman lay dead in Rotterdam home for 10 years (update)

The neighbours of a Rotterdam woman who lay dead in her home for 10 years have told Nos television they noticed nothing wrong.

‘We did not smell anything or see vermin,’ one neighbour told the broadcaster. Neighbours said they thought the woman had moved in with her daughter after she vanished.

Her body was found on Thursday after building workers alerted the police because the door was not being opened.

‘The police officers saw a pile of post behind the door and the house appeared to have been abandoned,’ a police spokesman said. ‘That made the police officers suspicious.’

Post

After breaking down the door, police found the body of a 74-year-old woman, who appears to have died of natural causes. They were able to say how long she had been dead by the dates on the unopened post.

The city council said later on Friday it would investigate how the woman’s disappearance could have gone unnoticed for so long.

Police have so far been unable to trace any surviving relatives, Nos said. ‘No-one appears to have missed her. No-one came to check,’ the spokesman said.

Because the woman was not officially dead, she continued to receive her pension and her rent and electricity bills were automatically paid.

The man who lived downstairs said he is shocked to have lived below a body without realising it for 10 years. ‘I did see her a couple of times. Like me, she was single,’ he said. ‘In effect she was an invisible neighbour.’