One of two bodies found in severe states of decomposition in the home of former Rhode Island mayor Susan Menard this week has been confirmed to be hers, state health officials confirmed.
Menard, Woonsocket’s longest-serving mayor, was in office from 1995 to 2009, according to the city’s website.
Police were flagged about the bodies, described as those of a male and a female, Monday afternoon after a neighbor reported that he hadn’t seen the pair who lived in the residence on Marian Lane in Woonsocket in about a week and that a strong odor was coming from the home, Police Chief Thomas Oates said Tuesday.
The state medical examiner’s office at the state Health Department identified one of the two bodies as Menard’s, noting that “the identity of the second decedent has not yet been finalized.”
The causes of death are pending, the department’s spokesperson said Wednesday.
Oates said officers who responded to the home and forced entry Monday found “no outward signs of any foul play or any type of struggle.”
He said the police department was aware that both of the people it believed to be the deceased had "pretty significant" medical issues.
Woonsocket, home to 43,000 people, is about 20 miles northwest of Providence.
Menard was identified shortly after the death of her brother Robert Miller, who worked as a toxicologist for the state Health Department for 30 years. He died Saturday at age 81, according to an obituary published in The Providence Journal, which lists her as a survivor.
Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt said Wednesday, "On behalf of the residents of the city and employees of the city of Woonsocket, we extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends."
Baldelli-Hunt said Menard not only was the longest-serving mayor in the city's history; she was also only the second elected female mayor in the history of Rhode Island.
She said Menard was a trusted public servant who served on the city's school committee and the City Council before she became mayor.
Menard will be remembered for her "strong personality" and "desire to lead," Baldelli-Hunt said.