A Wisconsin woman, who has been accused of suffocating her grandmother to death and burning her house with her corpse inside four days later, has claimed that the deceased had asked the suspect to help her die.
The crime came to light on the morning of June 11, when police and the fire department were called to the scene of a burning house in Fort Atkinson. The responders spotted the corpse of an elderly woman inside the bedroom where the flames were the strongest, according to a criminal complaint filed in Jefferson County.
However, when criminal investigators removed the body, they found out that it was already in a state of decay. An autopsy later confirmed that the 72-year-old victim had died before the fire was started, reports People magazine.
Elizabeth M. Durkee, 36, the granddaughter of the deceased, was taken into custody on June 12 on four felony charges that include intentional homicide, strangulation and suffocation, arson of a building and mutilating a corpse. According to the complaint, she and her two-year-old daughter used to live with the victim at the house which she set on fire.
Upon her arrest, Durkee told the authorities that her grandmother was in poor health and used to spend most of her time in bed. She asked for her help in dying so that she could be with her late husband. Therefore, after having dinner on June 7, the accused helped the victim into bed, told her that she loved her, and then duct-taped her nose and mouth until she stopped moving.
Durkee covered her grandmother's corpse with a blanket and left her in bed for four days while contemplating what to do with it. She told the police that at some point she was planning to burn herself and her young daughter as well along with the house, but later decided that they would leave the residence before the fire spread.
Sticking to her plans, Durkee poured gas all around the home including the blanket that covered her grandmother's body on June 10, and left the house after putting the blanket on fire the next morning.
Authorities are carrying out further investigations into the matter.