You wouldn’t have known Elizabeth Stewart was dead inside her DeKalb County apartment by the looks of things.
The power was running, a computer was on, clothes were scattered about and dirty dishes were piled in the sink, DeKalb County police Officer C.M. Delon noted in his police report. A cellphone was near the door and unopened mail was sitting on a side table nearby. Prescription pills were found throughout the apartment.
“It was obvious that someone was still residing in the apartment,” Delon wrote.
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It wasn’t until Delon smelled the distinct odor of a decomposed body and pulled back the covers of a bed in a back room that he found the 88-year-old woman inside the Emory Square apartment complex. A white towel was covering her face and a candle was lit on the dresser near the bed.
Nephew Charles Frederick Peters, 37, was arrested Tuesday evening inside the apartment on accusations he concealed the death, DeKalb County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cynthia Williams said. Warrants allege Peters kept Stewart in the Decatur apartment for a month and didn’t tell anyone.
Stewart was last seen three months before police found her body Friday afternoon, DeKalb police said. They said she suffered from dementia.
The DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office said Stewart died of natural causes, Channel 2 Acton News reported.
Peters was last seen in September by the apartment complex’s property manager, Vincent Rodriguez, who went to the home to collect overdue rent.
Peters apologized and said he “would get the late payment ‘taken care of,’” according to the report.
But when Rodriguez went to check again Friday, the front door was locked and the rear sliding door was open. Rodriguez slipped inside, made his way to the rear bedroom, smelled a strong odor and decided to call police.
Peters, who had lived with Stewart for a little more than a year, was nowhere to be found.
Stewart’s body was taken to Levett and Sons Funeral Home.
Stewart is the fourth person reportedly found dead in DeKalb County in a matter of months.
On Friday, a DeKalb police officer found 27-year-old Sergio Ulysses Collins dead from multiple gunshot wounds inside a car at the Mall at Stonecrest. He was reported missing from northwest Atlanta three days earlier and was believed to be in danger.
No arrests have been made in what police are calling a targeted shooting. Atlanta police is investigating the case.
On Aug. 17, Millicent Williams, 78, was found along I-20 a month after she was reported missing. She was identified using dental records. Grandson Gregory Williams was arrested and faces murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault and theft by taking charges in connection with the case.
A month later, police found 30-year-old Steven Mayer dead in his basement from multiple gunshot wounds.
Police recently released surveillance footage the night of the crime that showed one man guarding the home as two others searched inside. The men walked away from the home with boxes of marijuana-infused edibles.
Detectives think Mayer woke up and startled the men.
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