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Police Arrest Daughters of Elderly Woman

July 12, 2006

DOVER, Del. (AP) _ Police arrested two sisters Tuesday after discovering a decomposed body believed to be their mother inside a plastic bin in the elderly woman’s condemned, cat-filled home.

Investigators believe the remains are those of 84-year-old Mary Haas, police said.

The body was found Monday, four days after police condemned the residence, which was home to more than 100 cats and three dogs, said Dover Police Capt. Lester Boney.

Officers were unable to locate Haas when they visited the townhouse Thursday to investigate the unsanitary conditions. They returned Monday to pick up some of the diseased cats to be euthanized and found human remains stuffed in a container in an upstairs bedroom.

Police issued a warrant for her two daughters, Pamela Haas, 48, and Candy Haas, 43, charging them with abuse of a corpse and conspiracy. The women turned themselves in to police Tuesday afternoon and were arraigned at Magistrate Court.

``The fact that the body was placed in a plastic container leads you to believe that it was something other than a natural death,″ Boney said. ``But it could have been natural and this was their way of disposing of the body.″

Boney said Pamela Haas was at the residence when officers visited Thursday. She was placed in a shelter after police determined the air quality in the home was unhealthy.

``She didn’t like the shelter and she left,″ Boney said.

Neighbors said the sisters mostly kept to themselves, and that the mother had not been seen in about a year. The residence reeked of animal feces, they said.

``There were days when it would make you gag,″ said neighbor Donald Merchant.

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