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Autopsy: Woman left dead in Wayne County home for weeks died of natural causes

July 30, 2018

A Wayne County mobile home where a woman's body was found last week after a welfare check.

A 72-year-old whose corpse was left in her Wayne County home for over a month died of natural causes, according to an autopsy released Monday.

Joyce Eileen Law’s decomposed body was found on a couch during a welfare check at her home in the 900 block of McArthur Pond Road in February.

The autopsy said Law had died on or around Jan. 2, but her death was not reported to authorities.

Bonnie Cooley, a friend of the family told WRAL News in February that Law’s body had been in the home, along with the remains of a pet dog that died last October, because Law’s son was unable to part with his mother’s body.

An autopsy said Law had a history of dementia and obesity, but no pre-existing disease or trauma were found during the examination. The report said a medical examiner was unable to determine a specific cause of death for Law, and said she died of natural causes.

Following the discovery of Law’s body, her son was taken into custody for a mental health evaluation, but was later released.

At the time, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said investigators were looking into an allegation of Social Security fraud involving Law’s son. No charges have been filed.

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