A North Carolina woman kept her 93-year-old mother’s body in their home for several months because she was “curious about the stages of death,” according to local police.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, Tyree Davis, police chief in the small town of Enfield, said Donna Sue Hudgins, 69, had been charged with felony concealment of death. Enfield is about 70 miles northeast of the state capital, Raleigh.
In the post, Davis said the case started when Hudgins went to an undertaker to make funeral arrangements “stating that her mother passed that morning but that she did not know where EMS had taken the body.”
According to Davis, the funeral home checked and said they had no record of having received the body. Then, he added, “the funeral home became concerned and contacted the Enfield Police Department.”
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Police, including Davis, then went to Hudgins’ house where they found the badly decomposed body of Nellie Mae Hudgins.
“Detectives interviewed Hudgins,” Davis’ statement continued, “and learned that she did not report the death because she was curious and wanted to see the stages of death.”
Hudgins was later arrested and incarcerated on a $5,000 bond in the Halifax County Jail. According to Raleigh TV station WRAL, jail officials said Hudgins was no longer in custody.
Her case is scheduled for court on November 7, according to Davis’ statement. The Charlotte News & Observer said it is not known if she has an attorney.
Kenny Velasquez, who said he is separated from Nellie Hudgins’ granddaughter, told WRAL that family members had tried to visit the older Hudgins but that her daughter kept making excuses.
“Every time somebody would stop by, she would meet us at the door, say she’s asleep or something like that,” Velasquez told the station. “Apparently every time someone would call, same thing.”
A neighbor, Edna Burgess, told WRAL that, in hindsight, there were warning signs, saying that her daughter had smelled a foul odor for several weeks.
“I still didn’t pay it no mind,” Burgess said. “I thought maybe it was a sewer or something.”