Call from pizzeria led NH police to find elderly woman's body in house

Call from pizzeria led NH police to find elderly woman's body in house

SALEM, NH (WMUR/CNN) – It's not known how a New Hampshire woman in her 80s died, but police say she was in her home for some time after she passed.

Her son lives in the same house where she was found.

A local pizza restaurant tipped authorities off to the situation when employees noticed the son's strange behavior.

Crime tape remained up around 79 Brookdale Road in Salem, NH, on Thursday, a day after the elderly woman's body was found inside.

Romano's Pizzeria, a local restaurant, had asked police to check on the woman's son, who they said had been ordering from them for the past couple of months on a regular basis.

But recently, things changed.

"In the past week or so, the orders became more eccentric and erratic," said Jack Johnson, a Romano's Pizzeria employee. "He began changing the instructions, asking the drivers to come to the window instead of just dropping it off at the door like he usually did."

The man ordered large quantities of food, "more than maybe one or two people would be ordering on a regular basis," Johnson said.

He didn't look well the last time Johnson saw him.

The man also acted strangely over the phone.

"He would call and hang up, and call and hang up, and call back," Johnson said.

On Wednesday, a driver delivered food to the man's home. As instructed, he delivered the order to the window, where the man was waiting inside.

The driver noticed what looked like blood on the man.

"That was when Blake Ruggiero, the owner, asked us to try and get someone over there to check it and to make sure he was OK, because he began to become concerned by that," Johnson said.

Police were then called to the house.

First responders said there were extreme hoarding conditions inside – some of the worst they'd seen.

They also had to cut a hole in the house to get the man out.

"As someone who was a good customer for us, we were worried about him. It's just hard to hear," Johnson said.

Authorities said his mother had been dead for quite some time. Some neighbors hadn't seen her in a year.

"Right now, we have no reason to believe the public should have any concern," New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Jesse O'Neill said. "It is still early on, so things may develop, but right now, we see no reason for public concern."

The Attorney General's Office continues to investigate.

There's no word yet on how the woman died. No charges have been filed.

Copyright 2018 WMUR via CNN. All rights reserved.