When NYPD officers from the 104th Precinct stopped by a house in the Glendale section of Queens late Wednesday to check on the well-being of 85-year-old Erika Kraus-Breslin, they were met at the door by her adult grandson, who told them she was home.
“Yes, she is in the upstairs bedroom,’ ” Christopher Fuhrer, 30, said, according to a police official.
What the officers found upstairs horrified them.
Kraus-Breslin was dead in her bed with multiple layers of plastic bags wrapped around her decomposing body.
A clutter of air fresheners littered the room in what investigators believe was Fuhrer’s attempt to mask the stench of decomposition.
Police charged Fuhrer with not reporting a death to a health officer and improper burial, officials said.
So far, criminality isn’t suspected in Kraus-Breslin’s death, a police official said Thursday. Fuhrer may have been unable to cope with the loss of his grandmother or was in a state of denial, the official said.
He was being held late Thursday at the 104th Precinct in Ridgewood awaiting a court appearance, the NYPD said.
Cops said a family friend, concerned after not hearing from Kraus-Breslin for weeks, first contacted the NYPD.
It was unclear when or how Kraus-Breslin had died, officials said. The city medical examiner will be conducting an autopsy.
Kraus-Breslin bought the semidetached house in 1977 with her husband Henry Breslin, according to city records. Information on her husband was unavailable Thursday.
In 2010, the home was granted to a living trust Kraus-Breslin had set up for her benefit and she also owned property in Arizona, the records show.
Neighbor Tony Guzzardo told reporters Thursday he “used to see her once in a while and then I stopped seeing her.”