Woman Found Dead in Garbage-Filled Home

Neighbors said the woman kept to herself but would ask for water

Skokie firefighters carved a hole in a roof to remove a dead woman trapped inside her trash-filled home Monday night.

Police received a call of a woman screaming for help in outside a home in the 5400 block of Foster Street around 7:15 p.m.

Officers found a 54-year-old woman sitting on a pile of trash in the home's doorway. She told them her mother was dead, according to police.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the woman as 79-year-old Marie Davis.  A Tuesday autopsy confirmed that she died of natural causes related to heart disease that is unrelated to the condition or her home or the summer heat, officials said.

Firefighters had to tunnel through the single-story house to get to Davis, but couldn't remove her body because of the debris, police said.

"In my 29 years of law enforcement, I've never seen a house in this condition," said Skokie Police Commander Michael Ruth. "You couldn't get inside there. There was maybe two-and-a-half to three feet from the ceiling to the top of the debris."

It took three hours to extract Davis' body from the house.

Neighbors say Davis occasionally came over to ask for help but mainly kept to herself.

"The problem was, she was so reclusive. She really didn't ask for a lot of help," neighbor Pete Sauser said. "When you went to the door, she really wouldn't answer."

The daughter is now in "emergency placement" housing, officials said.

An elderly couple last month was rescued in their South Side Chicago home after being held hostage for weeks by the mounds of trash that was piled floor-to-ceiling.

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