Woman Found in Home Likely Dead Since Christmas

Subtitle: Body buried under mounds of garbage

By Franci Feirstein
|  Friday, Apr 1, 2011  |  Updated 9:12 PM CDT
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Woman Found in Home Likely Dead Since Christmas

Authorities said Cecylia Opilka was buried beneath piles of trash in her apartment in the 2000 block of West Morse Avenue.

Neighbors had been complaining of a stench in the first-floor apartment in the 2000 block of West Morse Avenue.  Now, they know why.

Police called to the home to do a well-being check discovered the body of an 80-year-old woman who they say had been dead for three months.

They could barely force the door open because garbage was piled almost to the ceiling.

Cecylia Opilka lived with her 43-year old son, Ronald.  Police said both were hoarders.  An autopsy showed Opilka died of natural causes. 

They're not filing criminal charges against her son because they say he may not have had the mental capacity to call authorities when his mom died.  But they did charge him for possession of marijuana.

A neighbor said he befriended Ronald Opilka some months ago, occasionally inviting him over to eat, and taking him to a local food pantry.

He said he never went inside the Opilka home, but said, "I knew something was wrong.  I just wasn't sure what."

Last May, an elderly couple on the city's south side was rescued after they'd been held hostage for weeks by their own trash.  And in July, a Skokie woman was found dead in her trash-filled home.

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