Mary Stuart Cerruti disappeared from her home in 2015 and her whereabouts were a mystery for three years. Police had initially investigated the case, and tried to find the 61 year old, but eventually stopped searching and put the case to the side. Her neighbours had been concerned about her as she was previously an active member of the community, attending local meetings to talk about development issues in the area. In the summer of 2015 she stopped leaving her house and worried neighbours noticed her mail piling up in front of her house and a broken window which never got fixed. It was only finally in May that new tenants of the house discovered bone fragments, which led to a full scale investigation of the whole house.
Mary had fallen through a loose board in her attic and got wedged into tight, immovable wall space that eventually claimed her life. On Wednesday investigators finally discovered the whole skeleton of the tragic woman. Rotten clothing, sneakers and glasses were found which helped identify the body and DNA was taken from her closest living relatives, who were her cousins. Cerruti lived a private life, hanging tapestries in her windows so people couldn't see inside and lacking close family or friends. It's thought that this contributed to her unusual death, as there weren't many people checking in on her on a regular basis despite how old and frail she was.
Cerruti's neighbor, Roxanne Davis, spoke to local news outlet KHOU to talk about how troubled she was to hear about what had happened: "The gap in the boards appears to be maybe eight inches, and Mary was certainly very frail, but it's hard for me to believe that a person could step on a board, and their entire body would go down a crack that is two inches wider than a dollar bill. There were a couple hundred pairs of eyes on her house at all times, and anybody could look down and see that she was alone, she was elderly, she was frail and she was vulnerable, flat-out vulnerable." The cause of death is listed as undetermined because the remains were skeletonized and there is no evidence to say how exactly she died. Police found no signs of trauma or foul play in what bones remained, although a great deal of evidence had decayed or been moved by animals.