Cheshire police are investigating the untimely death of a 66-year-old woman who was found in her basement under a pile of debris.
Last Thursday police went to 22 Winslow Rd. for a well-being check on Beverly Mitchell. Police said they needed assistance from the fire department to enter the home and the state's Department of Emergency Services due to stability concerns.
Police said Mitchell was found in her basement after her first floor had collapsed.
Authorities said a mail carrier called police to do the welfare check after Mitchell's mail was piling up.
First responders weren't able to get into the home until Saturday morning, which was when Mitchell's body was found. Police said the first floor was piled waist-high with clutter and they found Mitchell's body while removing debris with a backhoe through a hole in the house.
"Everyone assumed things were as bad as they probably were, but no one could say one way or the other," said Brian Warriner.
Neighbors had known that Mitchell had mental health problems. No one knows how long she was trapped underneath the rubble, but as soon as neighbors realized part of her roof had caved, they wanted to check on her.
"She was always frumpily dressed, she didn't seem to take car of herself," Warriner said.
The cars in the driveway of the home are stacked full of papers, which caused people to realize that Mitchell had a hoarding problem.
Cheshire police are investigating if Mitchell's hoarding addiction was what caused her floor to collapse and kill her.
"A leak in the roof caused structural damage, and we don't know if it was the weight of what she hoarded, or if it was the damage itself, but she fell into her basement and stuff fell on top of her," Warriner explained.
Neighbors said the amount of things hoarded, like mail and telephone books, extended to the outside of Mitchell's home.
"That's the reason why the cops couldn't find her the first time. There was no access to the basement except for the outside hatch, and that was covered with debris," said Warriner.
Once police entered the home, they saw that it was falling apart and had to bring in an excavator to safely access the home.
"To find out it took so long to find her was not that much of an amazing thing," Warriner said.
Neighbors told Eyewitness News that they've often tried to reach out to Mitchell and check on her but were given the cold shoulder. Many are sad that her life ended like this.
"She wouldn't answer the door or she would just say she didn't want to be bothered," said Warriner.
There are no indications of foul play, and the state medical examiner's office is determining the cause of death. Police are going to continue to investigate the hoarding angle.
Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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