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‘Foul smell’ leads to dead woman

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Family members further said that it was unclear what caused the strange “skin peeling” as the woman could not have been dead for more than about 24 hours

Catherine Matthee, (nee Munnavi). Picture: Supplied

MYSTERY surrounds the death of a 52-year-old Kimberley woman, whose decomposing corpse, was discovered after a group of children noticed “a foul smell” coming from her house.

The body of Catherine Matthee, (nee Munnavi) was discovered in her house in Homelite at the weekend.

According to family members, a group of children playing in the street noticed a “foul smell” coming from a house in Whiting Close, at around 8pm on Friday evening.

The children alerted neighbours about the smell, who went to investigate and found Matthee’s decomposing body on her bed.

“She was found lying on her bed, on her stomach, with her arms crossed above her head. A horrible, foul smell filled the room, with flies circling above the body. She was still fully dressed but the skin, on parts of her exposed body, like the arms and legs, appeared as if it was disintegrating and peeling from the flesh,” family members said.

There was a plate of food and a glass of juice on the bedside table and the television and lights in the house were on.

Family members further said that it was unclear what caused the strange “skin peeling” as the woman could not have been dead for more than about 24 hours.

“She was last seen alive at her house by neighbours on Thursday afternoon but her body looked like it had been decomposing for more than a week. The smell was unbearable,” they stated.

They were yesterday still waiting for the outcome of a postmortem report to indicate what the cause of death was.

The family described Matthee as a lovely, kind and energetic person, who was always willing to help her community.

“She was not sickly and only suffered from hypertension,” the family added.

She was employed at Kimberley Dry Cleaners.

Northern Cape police yesterday confirmed that they are investigating an inquest following the death of a female in a house in Whiting Close, Homelite, Roodepan.

“It is believed that the deceased was last seen alive on Thursday, January 10, when she returned from town. The next day children in the street noticed a foul stench coming from the house.

“Community members then contacted the police and upon arrival at the house at approximately 8pm, police officers discovered the deceased lying in her bedroom. She was alone in the house at the time of the incident.

“An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death,” police spokesperson, Colonel Mashay Gamieldien, said.