Society

Woman Who Sold Freezer With Mom's Body Inside Arrested

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Marcella Jean LeeMarcella Jean Lee

Authorities arrested a North Carolina woman who sold a freezer with her mother’s dead body inside.

In May, a woman purchased the appliance from 56-year-old Marcella Jean Lee at a garage sale for $30, WRAL reported. Inside of the freezer, the woman allegedly found the body of Lee's mother, 75-year-old Arma Ann Roush.

When the woman purchased the freezer, Lee told her the items inside were for a Sunday school project and that the church would come to collect them. Three weeks went by and no one from the church came, so the woman opened the freezer.

"Nothing was adding up, so I started to become suspicious about it," she said.

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“I was just in shock,” she said of finding Roush’s remains inside. "I opened it up for a second time and my heart went into my throat. I ran out of the house and called 911."

An autopsy of Roush’s body, which was intact and not dismembered in any way, found no signs of foul play. 

She lived with Lee and was last seen alive in August 2015.

A neighbor of Roush’s said Lee frequently gave him a different story as to the whereabouts of her mother.

"First, it was she's in the hospital, then it was a rest home, then it was she was in a coma," the neighbor, Don Peters, said.

Peters believes Roush was likely already dead.

"I think maybe the daughter was dependent on the mother's check and didn't know what else to do," the woman who purchased the freezer with Roush’s body inside told WRAL.

In June, authorities charged Lee with failing to report her mother’s death, a felony offense. She had already left Goldsboro and was being sought by authorities.

On Sept. 15, Lee was located and arrested in Carolina Beach, WNCN reports.

She is being held on a $50,000 bond.

Sources: WRAL (2), WNCN / Photo credit: WRAL

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