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French woman found living with body of dead mother

world Updated: Feb 10, 2014 19:24 IST

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In a shocking case, a reclusive 66-year-old French woman was found to be living alongside the badly decomposed body of her elderly mother, who had been missing and presumed dead for several years.

Police officers discovered the corpse in the women's shared home in France's Brittany town of Mael-Carhaix on Friday after authorities expressed concern about the home's state of neglect, according to the local paper La Telegramme.

Police were called to intervene when neighbours complained of rubbish being left in the garden for "years" and after bills had gone unpaid, The Independent reported.

The police said that when they arrived the woman seemed "confused, delirious and incoherent".

They found further piles of garbage bags inside the home, and upstairs the mother's corpse was sat in a chair "in a state of advanced decomposition".

The mother and daughter had reportedly lived in the village for the whole of the latter's lifetime, and local mayor Michel Henry told news outlet Ouest-France they were seen as "recluses".

Henry said it was "an unthinkable tragedy for our time".

The prosecutor said the daughter had been taken to a psychiatric hospital after she was deemed too confused for questioning.

Police said that it was too early to say if she had died of natural causes.

The daughter had never declared her death and continued to live an apparently normal life, according to Radio France Internationale (RFI).