Maine police discovered the body of a 69-year-old woman on Jan. 8 and believe she may have died in her house some time in 2013.
“I know [the police’s] hands were tied,” neighbor Lois Martin said of the delay in finding the dead woman, Lucie McNulty, the Portland Press Herald reports. “It’s just so sad to think that with all the people in this town, no one was concerned enough. No human being deserves to die like that.”
Since 2013 worried neighbors in Wells, Maine, have phoned the police to check in on McNulty. Police performed a welfare check in July 2013, but did not go inside the home.
They explain that while she did not answer the door, the outside of her home did not reveal the usual signs of neglect, such as piled-up mail.
“We never had any legitimate reason to force our way into the house,” Wells police Lt. Gerald Congdon said. “She was the type of person to always have her shades down and her curtains drawn. She was very much a loner.”
Neighbors describe McNulty, an unmarried former music teacher from Buffalo, New York, as reclusive and “strange,” rarely leaving her home.
“She had called and asked sort of out of the blue, 'You seem nice. Do you like me?'” Martin recalled. “I said, ‘I guess, but I don’t really know you.’ And then she said, ‘No one else likes me.'”
Again, in 2014, a former co-worker of McNulty’s called police stating that the Christmas card he sent her had been returned, and she was no longer in touch.
Still, police did not enter the home.
“There was absolutely nothing to indicate anything was wrong. The power was still on,” Congdon explained.
Eventually they forced their way into her home after it was revealed McNulty had not paid more than $2,000 in property taxes. She was also facing a foreclosure. Police found her body in the mobile home's bedroom.
Her phone was disconnected, and all mail sent to her home had been returned to the sender.
Autopsy reports reveal McNulty died of a heart condition, ischemic cardiovascular disease
WCVB reports Bibber Funeral Home in nearby Kennebunk will hold a service for her if nobody comes forward to take custody of McNulty’s body.
"We believe no one should leave this world without acknowledging their existence," Funeral Director Douglas Bibber said.