JENNINGS • Gladys Jean Bergmeier was known by her neighbors to be a pack rat who filled her house with plants and plastic bags stuffed with a mix of important papers and trash. Outdated newspapers and magazines were piled throughout her house in the 9200 block of Catalina Drive.
Nearly three weeks after the 75-year-old was found dead on Feb. 7, a relative found the unthinkable among the rubbish: the mummified remains of an elderly woman, presumably Bergmeier's long-unseen mother, Gladys Stansbury.
On Feb. 26, a relative helping clean out Bergmeier's home came across the remains, wrapped in plastic and a multicolored curtain. The remains were partially dressed in a pajama top and camisole, and had a sock on the right foot. The remains had no broken bones or signs of trauma.
"It appears (Bergmeier) couldn't let go (of her mother)," [Gwen Haugen, a forensic investigator with the St. Louis County medical examiner's office], said. "This woman always had excuses as to where (Stansbury) might be. As time went on, people just stopped asking."
The body presumed to be that of Stansbury is now on a gurney at the St. Louis County medical examiner's office in Berkeley. Investigators are looking for information that might help pinpoint the time she died.
Inside the plastic wrappings, investigators found an orange juice bottle with a 2003 expiration date.