A Harlem woman was arrested Sunday for hiding her mother’s death.
Denise Marie Chinnery, 45, was charged with concealing the death of another and cruelty to a person 65 years or older. She’s is being held in the Columbia County Detention Center on a $15,200 bond, according to jail records.
Chinnery’s sister called authorities to the Mahala Lane home Chinnery shared with her 74-year-old mother, Catherine Simmons, at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Her sister told deputies that Chinnery was inside with their mother’s dead body and refused to let her in, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s office incident report. The sister and others said they could smell a strong odor of decomposition coming from inside the mobile home.
Chinnery’s brother-in-law forced open the door she was blocking. The couple and another man saw Simmons’ body seated in a living room chair and the strong odor of a decaying body, according to the report.
Two deputies forced Chinnery from behind the door and pulled her outside.
Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins estimated that Simmons had been dead at least a week. An autopsy is expected to be performed Tuesday at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Atlanta to determine the cause of death, Collins said.