BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Boardman Police are investigating the tragic death of an elderly woman, after charging her son with abuse of the corpse that was left to decay in a garage Tuesday night.
Boardman Police said they found evidence that Phillip Bergman, 45, was living in the home while the body of his 85-year-old mother, Jacqueline Bergman, was still in the house Tuesday.
Officers found the woman in the garage of her home on Lemont Drive off of Mathews Road.
Police were called to the home around 5:45 p.m. to do a welfare check after Judy Davis reported that she had not seen her neighbor for at least a week and was concerned about her welfare.
“Neighbors became concerned when they hadn’t seen her outside in a few days,” said Sgt. Glen Riddle. “There was papers piled up on the porch, the house was in a condition it’s not normally in. Grass uncut, drapes drawn.”
When officers arrived, the door to the home was open and they found Phillip inside. They arrested him on charges of abuse of a corpse and failing to report a death.
Back in 2011, Jackie petitioned the Mahoning County Court to have her son declared mentally incompetent.
“She was just a very pleasant woman. She was quiet, she didn’t bother anybody. She had raised two children when I was raising two children,” Davis said.
Davis started to worry when she never saw Jackie get her mail.
“I talked to the mailman, he said there is like six newspapers on the front porch and she always gets them. Her grass has not been cut, her blinds are drawn,” she said. “Just my gut feeling that something was wrong.”
Sgt. Riddle says people should look out for their neighbors.
“If you see something that’s not normal, you haven’t seen your neighbors, especially if they are sick or elderly, absolutely call your local police and ask them to be checked on.”
An autopsy will be conducted Thursday to determine the cause of death, according to Mahoning County Deputy Coroner Dr. Joseph Orr, who said identification confirmation is in the works.
“We’re waiting on a report from the medical examiner to determine if there’s any injuries or unnatural cause of death,” Riddle said.
Phillip Bergman is expected to be in Boardman Court Thursday.