The body of an 89-year-old woman found in a plastic tub in the basement of a home on Virginia Avenue in January showed no signs of injury or trauma, according to a preliminary autopsy report reviewed Monday by the Dayton Daily News.
The report says Mary Lauhon weighed only 66 pounds, was curled into the fetal position and wore only socks and a disposable diaper. On top of the body was piled plastic bags and clothes. The plastic tub was not in a freezer, as initially reported.
Dayton police in March identified the body as Lauhon. Officers found the body in January after her grand-daughter Megan Lauhon called from North Carolina and pleaded with police to find her grandmother’s body. Megan Lauhon said her grandmother was last living on Mapleview Avenue.
A visit to Mapleview Avenue led police to a house on Virginia Avenue, then to another across the street, according to the coroner’s office report. That’s where they found the plastic container in the corner of the basement that records say contained Mary Lauhon’s remains.
The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office preliminary autopsy report listed the cause and manner of death as “undetermined.” There were no signs of injury or trauma, and no alcohol or illicit drugs in the remains.
The report did not estimate when Mary Lauhon died, though the body was badly decomposed and partially mummified.
Current residents at the Mapleview Avenue address told police they lived there since 2017.
Megan Lauhon told police she hadn’t heard from her grandmother in about three years and believed someone was continuing to collect her grandmother’s Social Security benefits. She had heard that the family member left her grandmother’s remains with neighbors when she moved out of state, she told dispatchers.
Police have said they have no evidence that the people living at the Virginia Avenue home where the body was found were aware it was there.
Dayton police have not released any information about the case since identifying the body as Lauhon in mid-March, and said Monday the case remains open and they have no additional information to share at this time.
The Dayton Daily News was able to review the preliminary autopsy report and photos under a provision in Ohio law that gives journalists unique access to such records. A reporter was allowed to view the roughly 15 pages of material, but couldn’t make copies or even take notes in the same room.
The right of a journalist to view such records was upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court in September in the case of the Pike County mass killing.
The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office on April 1 — days before the Dayton Daily News requested access to the Lauhon file — adopted a policy affirming a journalist’s access to these records but limiting it to only 30 minutes.
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