Indian-origin woman tends to dead spouse for weeks in New Zealand

The man died of natural causes and instead of informing funeral directors, his wife bathed and cared for his decomposing body

Melbourne: In a “bizarre” incident, a grieving Indian-origin woman in New Zealand bathed and cared for her husband's decomposing body for several weeks, unwilling to accept that her spouse was dead.

Severely decomposed
The incident took place in northern Wellington where the Indian-origin couple in their late 50s lived. The corpse found in late August was so decomposed that police used dental records to confirm the man's identity.

The remains were so badly decomposed that identifying them was tough, Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Ferguson said yesterday. “One of the challenges was the denial by the spouse that it was her husband and police had to do a lengthy identification phase,” said Ferguson.

'Not a homicide'
Police opened a homicide investigation but have not laid any charges and now passed the matter to the coroner.

“At this stage we are not looking at it as a homicide. We've got a lot of our fingerprint and DNA results back and we are pretty comfortable with the identification - that it was the woman's husband,” he said.

Terming the incident as “bizarre”, Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Ferguson said the man had been having health troubles and the coroner would rule on the exact cause of death.

It appeared the man died of natural causes, but his wife did not notify authorities or funeral directors of his passing. She instead tended to his body in the couple's Housing NZ property on Manaaki Way.

The names of the couple have been withheld and the coroner will decide if they should be made public, Ferguson said.

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