On a complaint from a neighbour about foul smell from the house in Ramavarma Puram locality, police on Saturday morning found the body of Umadevi (56), who died on December 3, 2012, covered with a bed-spread in one of the rooms.
Police said Umadevi's mother Sarojini, her son Sivaraman and her brother Sellampillai had always kept their house locked and did not speak to neighbours.
They had been living on the family pension of Sarojini's husband Subramaniam Pillai. As Sarojini did not appear for renewal of life certificate, they did not get the pension also in recent months.
Police said it was not immediately known whether the family members kept the body in the house itself because they did not have money for performing cremation or if they suffered from some psychological problem.
"All the three looked like they had psychological problem. That is also one of the reasons why we referred them to the hospital," police said.
However, Sellampillai, a B.Tech graduate, told police that his father died after seeing some ghost in the house. "My brother Perumal also died and now my sister Umadevi has died. Someone said that if there is dead body in the house, then the ghost will not come." Police officials said Sellampillai spoke to them in fluent English.