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An elderly Alabama woman with Alzheimer's disease had been living with her dead husband's body for about a month before police discovered the tragic scene, the county coroner said Sunday.
Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn determined that Jessie Claude Kirby, 75, of Decatur died of from natural causes about four weeks ago.
Decatur police said they spotted the body Friday as they peered through a window at Kirby's home, where they had been sent to check on the welfare of Kirby and his wife, Doris, 78, at the request of relatives who hadn't heard from them for months, according to a police incident report.
Doris Kirby has Alzheimer's disease and was unable to comprehend that officers were trying to check on her, the report said. Police had to force their way into the house, where Jessie Kirby was lying in his bed.
Doris Kirby was described as in poor health and was being treated at Decatur Morgan Hospital.
Two dead dogs, who appeared to have starved, were also found.
Dean Hayes, a neighbor who has known the Kirbys for decades, said she had a bad feeling when she saw police arrive Friday.
"Police cars were up and down the road," Hayes told NBC station WAFF of Huntsville. "To think that all of us live right here, this close, and none of us knew anything about it."