In March 2017, the mysterious disappearance of Mary Cerruti, 61, came to light when people moving into her West Heights, Texas, home found human remains in the crawl space beneath the attic.
As IJR previously reported, new tenants moving boxes into the attic noticed a gap in the floorboards. Using a flashlight to look inside, the renters discovered a pile of bones between the attic floor and the sheetrock of the level below. Along with the human remains were a pair of red drugstore glasses.
Cerruti disappeared in early 2015, leaving some neighbors to wonder if she had passed away. Police were called but found no traces of the missing woman. Around the same time, Cerruti stopped paying her mortgage and failed to make payments on a tax loan. Cerruti’s home was foreclosed and later sold.
The woman reportedly lived alone and although her ex-husband, from whom she had been divorced for 25 years, had been notified she was missing, he claimed he hadn’t be alerted to any developments. The remains found in Cerruti’s home were sent to forensic testing to determine their identity and cause of death.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences has identified them as belonging to Mary Cerruti, reports the Houston Chronicle. Police don’t suspect foul play. But a cousin of Cerruti’s, Nancy Stewart Stoddard, said she thinks otherwise:
“I think I’m glad that it’s coming to a conclusion. I think somebody put her there… I still have lots of questions that probably will never be answered.”
Although Cerruti’s remains have been positively identified, her cause of death hasn’t been determined.
According to the Houston Chronicle, in June 2017, an autopsy found no signs of acute trauma, though Cerruti’s femur was found to have been healing from a fracture occurring before her death. A piece of floorboard was found with Cerruti’s remains, leading to the theory Cerruti fell through the attic floor.
Baylor College Medicine pathologist Francis Gannon told the Chronicle it’s possible Cerruti had lost her balance due to the injured leg:
“Having that fracture could have contributed to her not recovering her balance. In my mind, she fell and died in that location.”
Cerruti’s neighbor, Roxanne Davis, hopes more is done to investigate Cerruti’s death. As she told the Chronicle:
“It’s disappointing that there hasn’t been more thought that has gone into what happened to this person. Did somebody put the body in the wall?”
Another neighbor who asked not to be identified told the newspaper: “It’s a sad story that the world went on around her. Nobody knew what was going on.”