Neighbors called police after seeing a stack of boxes left delivered on the front door and having no one answer when they rang the doorbell.
When police arrived for the welfare check at about 11:00 a.m., they forced their way in and found the dead mother on the couch in the living room. After a search through the home, they found the daughter in a bedroom.
"A short time after the discovery of the body, the officers were shocked to hear a female voice calling out to them from a bedroom," said Petaluma police Lt. Jeremy Walsh to Fox News Digital.
They said that the home was filled with clutter, trash, and boxes from floor to ceiling.
"After a slow and methodical process of clearing the debris, officers were able to safely get her out of the room and ultimately transported to an area hospital for medical treatment," he added.
Police said the woman told them her mother had died of "natural causes" in April 2021, meaning she had been decomposing for about 16 months.
Authorities are only calling it an "unattended death" while they investigate whether the woman died of natural causes or could have been intentionally killed. They are probing whether the daughter improperly received financial benefits that belonged to the mother.
Walsh said police believed the woman had not left the home since the beginning of the pandemic lockdown and had been receiving living essentials through the mail.
The home was also marked unsafe by the City of Petaluma Code Enforcement.
"I've covered a lot of stories over the years, this is at the top of the list you guys," commented reporter Will Tran.
Here's a local news video of the incident:
Petaluma Woman Lived With Mother's Corpse for Over a Yearwww.youtube.com