PORT HURON (WWJ/AP) - An Oregon woman accused of dumping the body of her 89-year-old mother behind a Michigan thrift store has been charged with murder.
New charges against Kelly Rhodes of Salem, Ore., were disclosed Wednesday when she appeared in court on a charge of moving the body.
Authorities said Mary Gertrude Grenia, of Salem, Ore., was found dead March 12 behind the Goodwill store in Port Huron Township, about 55 miles northeast of Detroit. Authorities said Grenia’s body was hidden for more than a week under snow and blankets. She was identified using X-ray comparison from medical records.
Sheriff’s officials initially believed the woman was not a victim of foul play — until an investigation showed otherwise.
The 49-year-old Rhodes was charged with open murder and abuse of a vulnerable adult. Open murder means a jury can determine if it’s first or second-degree murder.
The Port Huron Times Herald reports the new charges came after prosecutors received an autopsy report Tuesday. Prosecutor Mona Armstrong declined to comment.
Graham Sweeney of Hamilton, Ontario, in March told the Herold.
Rhodes was traveling to marry him in Canada when her mother died. He said he received a call from Rhodes on March 9 when she woke up after sleeping in her vehicle and found her mother dead.
Rhodes allegedly told Sweeney she was dropping off furniture at the Goodwill store when someone she met in the area called a person to cremate the body. Sweeney said Rhodes paid that person $200.
“She was conned,” he said.
After her mother’s body was identified, was Rhodes was arrested at a relative’s home in Belleville, Ill.
A message seeking comment was left Wednesday for Rhodes’ attorney, Sharon Parrish.
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