NEW HANOVER – On Tuesday, just before 11:30 a.m., Deputies responded to the residence at 612 Cherry Laurel Court to investigate a reported death.
Detectives found the body of 87-year old Blanche Matilda Roth lying in a bedroom inside the residence. Detectives believe the death occurred in the spring of 2009. As the investigation continued into the early evening hours, Detectives executed a search warrant to conduct a thorough search of the residence. The cause of death remains unknown but there were no signs of foul play indicated in the preliminary autopsy information. Official autopsy report is pending from the NC Medical Examiner’s Office in Chapel Hill.
As confirmed earlier by District Attorney Ben David, five people who are family members to the deceased lived in the home. Amy Blanche Steward, 47-year old of 612 Cherry Laurel Court, was arrested and charged with Concealment of Death, which is a Class I Felony under North Carolina law.
“We anticipate additional charges and/or arrests as Detectives investigate the possibility of fraud that is related to the benefits of the deceased”, said Sheriff Ed McMahon.
Amy Blanche Steward, released from the New Hanover County Detention Facility after posting a $1,000 secured bond, is scheduled to appear in District Court on Wednesday.
The investigation is on-going and additional information will be released as it becomes available.