BROOKYLN — An elderly Brownsville woman who seemingly died of natural causes last month was actually stabbed to death — and the murder might have gone undetected had a funeral home director not discovered a knife wound in back of her neck, police sources said.
Myrtle McKenny, 82, was found unresponsive in the kitchen of her apartment in the Carter G. Woodson Houses on Powell Street by a home health aide on Nov. 9, police said.
"EMS did a brief investigation and found out she was suffering from hypertension and diabetes, determined it was a natural cause of death," NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.
The body was then taken to the morgue, a family doctor was notified and a funeral director was found. The family doctor is not believed to have viewed the body, Boyce said.
"The body stayed for about a month in the Brooklyn morgue, at which time the body was then removed by the funeral director to the funeral home, where the funeral director discovered a stab wound in her neck," he said.
The NYPD did not initially believe there was any criminality, but a funeral home worker who was preparing McKenny’s body discovered the wound on Sunday. The Medical Examiner then ruled the death a homicide, the NYPD said.
"The cause of death is stab wound of neck and incised wounds of right upper extremity with blunt impact injuries of head, torso and right upper extremity, with contributing condition of hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease," ME spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said in an email.
It wasn’t clear why the wound hadn’t been detected sooner.
Investigators did not recover a weapon inside the apartment. No suspects have been identified, police said.
"We have a lot of work to do in the case," Boyce said.