NEW YORK (AP) – Police investigating a bad smell in a Queens apartment building discovered a decomposing corpse, and three women who had apparently been living with it for at least several weeks.

The deceased woman, tentatively identified by authorities as Gabriel Durand, was believed to be in her late 70s or early 80s. Police and the medical examiner were initially unsure of the cause of death, or of the spelling of the woman’s first name.

Investigators, called to the building by its superintendent, had to break down a door to get into the apartment. Inside, they found Durand’s two elderly sisters and her 35-year-old niece, who had opened the door a crack when police knocked, but then quickly slammed it shut.

Police found the body on a hallway floor outside Durand’s bedroom.

All four women had lived together in the apartment. None had called authorities to report the death, or told neighbors what had happened, police said.

The three surviving women were taken to a hospital for a psychological evaluation, police said.

Authorities planned to conduct an autopsy to determine how Durand died.


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