Police in New Jersey say 53-year-old Janet Wilson lived with the corpse of her disabled daughter in their Manchester home for several days while she collected disability checks and took money from her daughter’s bank account.
The body of 32-year-old Rebecca Wilson was discovered abandoned inside a mobile home she shared with her mother and her disabled 29-year-old brother. She was found inside on a hospital bed surrounded by garbage, food and boxes, The Star-Ledger reported.
Rebecca, who was severely disabled, died in early May, but no one reported her death to authorities. Police said that Rebecca’s brother was not even told that his sister had died. She was found May 30 after neighbors complained of an odor and flies began swarming outside of the home.
Police Chief Brian Klimakowski said Wilson, her boyfriend and her son continued to live in the mobile home for days before leaving for a motel.
Once the body was found and police called to tell Wilson, police say that is when she decided to get out of town.
"I have to get out of here the police just called me, I can’t go back into Pine Ridge," she told her friend, according to Klimakowski.
Wilson was still receiving her daughter’s disability checks and transferred $600 from her daughter’s bank account to her own on June 17.
Police caught up with Wilson at a motel in Reno, Nev. She was arrested on June 20 and charged with aggravated manslaughter, neglect of a disabled adult and desecrating human remains.
"It’s a horror," said Patricia Burghardt, an elderly woman who has lived a few doors down from the Wilsons for about a decade. "Knowing what happened to that child – it’s just too awful."
Burghardt believes Wilson had been a good caregiver before she met her new boyfriend.
“There seemed to be a complete turnaround,” she said. She said whenever she saw Wilson now she was always with a man and not her daughter.
Wilson was flown back to New Jersey on July 4. She pleaded not guilty in court on Monday.
The Asbury Park Press reported that a half-dozen people who knew Rebecca, or Becky, appeared at the courthouse to support Becky.
“Becky needs to be heard,” said 59-year-old Loraine DePalma.
“It’s sickening,” said Joe Cesaro. “It’s something you can’t believe happening to a human being.”
“She was a happy girl,” said 63-year-old Ele Hayes. “She didn’t deserve this. She could have had a long life.”