Mother, daughter found dead in Gramercy Park apartment, NYPD says

The decomposed bodies of the women, 94 and 70, were discovered in a Gramercy apartment on Aug. 8, 2017, police said.
The decomposed bodies of the women, 94 and 70, were discovered in a Gramercy apartment on Aug. 8, 2017, police said. Photo Credit: Heather Holland

The decomposing bodies of a mother and her daughter were found on the floor of a bedroom in their Gramercy Park apartment Tuesday, police said.

The two women, 94 and 70, were discovered at about 2:25 p.m. when workers responded to reports of a smell coming from inside the 10th-floor apartment on East 16th Street, according to police.

The 94-year-old was naked and the 70-year-old was wearing only underwear, a law enforcement source said.

It was not immediately clear how long the women had been dead, but both bodies had begun decomposing, police said.

Both women, whose identities weren’t released pending family notification, had a pre-existing medical condition and there were no signs of trauma, an NYPD spokesman said.

The medical examiner later determined that both died of natural causes.

The cause of death for the 70-year-old woman was hypertensive cardiovascular disease, which is related to high blood pressure. The 94-year-old woman’s cause of death was a combination of atherosclerotic — a hardening and narrowing of the arteries — and hypertensive cardiovascular disease, the medical examiner’s office said.

Ana Sandles, 87, who has lived on the fifth floor of the building for 37 years, said she had known both women for a long time.  

“[The mother] and I were very friendly,” she said. “We chatted a lot.”

Sandles said she used to see the mother out food shopping, but recently she used a wheelchair and her daughter pushed her around.

She was concerned about the women during a heat wave in July because the building’s management shut off the air conditioning for three days, she said.

There were seven complaints in July about broken air conditioners or heat being on in the summer, according to city Housing Preservation and Development records. 

Sandles said past issues with air conditioning led her to install her own unit in her room.

The medical examiner’s ruling, however, did not list heat as a contributing factor in the either of the causes of death.

The building’s management company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.