Hawai Finance

Jun 25 2017

Family finds human bones inside walls of new Houston home, which once belonged to long-missing


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Family finds human bones inside walls of new Houston home, which once belonged to long-missing woman

This house on Allston Street in the Heights, where human remains were discovered in a wall on Saturday, is shown surrounded by development on Sunday, March 5, 2017, in Houston. The house was the former residence of a 61-year-old woman, who was the last holdout in the neighborhood, refusing to sell to developers who were leveling 1930s bungalows in favor of modern apartments, She went missing in 2015. The house was foreclosed, repaired and flipped and the new owners discovered human remains inside one of the walls of the home.

This house on Allston Street in the Heights, where human remains were discovered in a wall on Saturday, is shown surrounded by development on Sunday, March 5, 2017, in Houston. The house was the former

Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle

The picture of Mary Cerruti that was on a Houston Police Department Missing Persons Unit flyer in 2015. Cerruti had last been seen in the spring of 2015. (Photo courtesy Houston Police Department)

The picture of Mary Cerruti that was on a Houston Police Department Missing Persons Unit flyer in 2015. Cerruti had last been seen in the spring of 2015. (Photo courtesy Houston Police Department)

Photo: Houston Police Department Missing Persons Unit

Mary Cerruti’s basket holds photos of her mother and father, Ruth and Boyd Stewart, who died 35 years ago.

Mary Cerruti’s basket holds photos of her mother and father, Ruth and Boyd Stewart, who died 35 years ago.

Photo: Karen Warren, Chronicle

This house on Allston Street in the Heights, where human remains were discovered in a wall on Saturday, is shown surrounded by development on Sunday, March 5, 2017, in Houston. The house was the former residence of a 61-year-old woman, who was the last holdout in the neighborhood, refusing to sell to developers who were leveling 1930s bungalows in favor of modern apartments, She went missing in 2015. The house was foreclosed, repaired and flipped and the new owners discovered human remains inside one of the walls of the home.

This house on Allston Street in the Heights, where human remains were discovered in a wall on Saturday, is shown surrounded by development on Sunday, March 5, 2017, in Houston. The house was the former

Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle

This house on Allston Street in the Heights, where human remains were discovered in a wall on Saturday, is shown surrounded by development on Sunday, March 5, 2017, in Houston. The house was the former residence of a 61-year-old woman, who was the last holdout in the neighborhood, refusing to sell to developers who were leveling 1930s bungalows in favor of modern apartments, She went missing in 2015. The house was foreclosed, repaired and flipped and the new owners discovered human remains inside one of the walls of the home.

This house on Allston Street in the Heights, where human remains were discovered in a wall on Saturday, is shown surrounded by development on Sunday, March 5, 2017, in Houston. The house was the former

Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle

This house on Allston Street in the Heights, where human remains were discovered in a wall on Saturday on Monday, March 6, 2017, in Houston. The house was the former residence of a 61-year-old woman, who was the last holdout in the neighborhood, refusing to sell to developers who were leveling 1930s bungalows in favor of modern apartments, She went missing in 2015. The house was foreclosed, repaired and flipped and the new owners discovered human remains inside one of the walls of the home.

This house on Allston Street in the Heights, where human remains were discovered in a wall on Saturday on Monday, March 6, 2017, in Houston. The house was the former residence of a 61-year-old woman, who was

Photo: J. Patric Schneider/For The Chronicle

This house on Allston Street in the Heights, where human remains were discovered in a wall on Saturday on Monday, March 6, 2017, in Houston. The house was the former residence of a 61-year-old woman, who was the last holdout in the neighborhood, refusing to sell to developers who were leveling 1930s bungalows in favor of modern apartments, She went missing in 2015. The house was foreclosed, repaired and flipped and the new owners discovered human remains inside one of the walls of the home.

This house on Allston Street in the Heights, where human remains were discovered in a wall on Saturday on Monday, March 6, 2017, in Houston. The house was the former residence of a 61-year-old woman, who was

Photo: J. Patric Schneider/For The Chronicle

This house on Allston Street in the Heights, where human remains were discovered in a wall on Saturday on Monday, March 6, 2017, in Houston. The house was the former residence of a 61-year-old woman, who was the last holdout in the neighborhood, refusing to sell to developers who were leveling 1930s bungalows in favor of modern apartments, She went missing in 2015. The house was foreclosed, repaired and flipped and the new owners discovered human remains inside one of the walls of the home.

This house on Allston Street in the Heights, where human remains were discovered in a wall on Saturday on Monday, March 6, 2017, in Houston. The house was the former residence of a 61-year-old woman, who was

Photo: J. Patric Schneider/For The Chronicle

Broken sheet rock lies in the front yard of a home on Allston Street after new homeowners discovered a human skeleton inside a wall Saturday, March 4, 2017. The previous owner went missing in 2015.

Broken sheet rock lies in the front yard of a home on Allston Street after new homeowners discovered a human skeleton inside a wall Saturday, March 4, 2017. The previous owner went missing in 2015.

Photo: Mark Collette, Mark Collette/Houston Chronicle

The two-bedroom, steel-blue 1930s-era home is among the last few standing next to condo towers and shiny new townhomes in the 600 block of Allston Street in the Heights.

The new owners were just moving into the 1,161-square-foot house on Saturday — the upturned soil still fresh in a row of pink, white, yellow and purple flowers in front of the porch — when one of them shifted a board in the attic, peered down inside a wall and saw a jumble of bones.

In the rain-soaked grass, thrown into relief by the soft glow of a single porch light, a little pile of broken sheet rock looked like just another moving-day project.

“We popped a pretty good hole in the wall,” Houston Police Detective Jason Fay said.

Neighbors said the remains could belong to a woman who went missing in 2015. Mary Cerruti, 61, was last seen in February or March of 2015 and is still listed as missing, Fay said. Public records show she was the previous homeowner of the $400,000 home.

According to a post on the West Heights Coalition website. police visited the home in the summer of 2015 after receiving calls about the house, but didn’t find Cerruti.

“Neighbors remain hopeful that Mary will be found alive and well,” the post said.

There was nothing else in the wall but a tattered rag and a pair of red-framed eyeglasses, of the $5 drugstore variety. Animals had disturbed the skeleton.

The owners called police in the afternoon, and the medical examiner’s office finished extracting the bones shortly before 7 p.m. They appeared to belong to an adult, Fay said.

The new residents left after nightfall.

They were “a little worried because they have a body in the house,” Fay said. “Was it someone who was killed and stuffed in the wall, or did they accidentally pass away by ending up in the wall?”

It’s possible the person tripped in the attic and fell into the empty space, he said.

Mark DeBoer said the home was abandoned, the lawn overgrown, with a “for sale” sign out front, since he moved to the area a few years ago. He wondered how the new owners might be coping with their discovery.

“That sort of thing is supposed to go on the seller’s disclosure,” he said.


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