Investigators are looking into the financial history of a woman whose decomposed body was found inside a Piedmont home Tuesday evening, a police captain said.
Officers found the woman's body in the entryway of a home in the 200 block of Highland Avenue after a family member who lives nearby requested a welfare check around 5:15 p.m., Piedmont police Capt. John Hunt said.
Hunt said property records list the homeowner as 86-year-old Patricia Bostrom, but that the Alameda County coroner's bureau is still working to confirm the deceased woman's identity through dental records.
Toxicology tests are being conducted to determine cause of the woman's death, which could take up to two months, according to the coroner's bureau.
Police on Wednesday questioned a "person of interest" in the case.
Hunt said the potential crime being investigated is "interference with remains" but did not elaborate on what police suspect happened. The case is not considered a homicide, he said.
He said today that police "are going to be obtaining search warrants to look into the financial history of the property owner to see if there has been any criminal activity involving her money."
The woman's property taxes had not been paid since December 2003, Hunt said.
Gray Holmes, a neighbor who also lives on Highland Avenue, said the woman questioned by police is Bostrom's daughter.
Holmes said he had known Bostrom for about 40 years and visited her periodically in the past. He said she was bedridden that and her daughter took care of her until "all of a sudden, about five years ago, they just went away."
Holmes said "the house stayed empty but the daughter came by to keep it up and do the yard."
Police Capt. Hunt said police found stacks of mail inside the home that had been collected periodically.
He said the "person of interest" raised suspicion among friends and family because of inconsistencies in what she told them about the elder woman's whereabouts.
"It started with statements about the owner living with her, or that she was on vacation, or that she had gone down south," Hunt said. "The stories kept changing and they still never got to see the property owner, so friends and family just became more and more concerned and frustrated."
Hunt said the woman questioned was later released, and that no arrest is pending. However, police have been in contact with the elder abuse unit of the district attorney's office, he said.
Holmes, who talked with police on Tuesday, said he had spoken in the past with a couple of family members and neighbors who suspected "something fishy" was going on.
"I'm just glad that whatever it is will come out to provide closure for people that cared about her," he said.