A former Williamsville music teacher died over two years ago, but her body wasn’t discovered until last week Friday.
Lucie McNulty’s body was found in trailer in Wells, Maine, where she moved sometime after retiring from her middle school position. She worked in Williamsville schools from 1970 to 2001. At some point, she was at Heim Elementary and was at Casey Middle School between 1989 to 2000.
Police said she had no close friends or family and that she rarely left home except to get her mail.
A medical examiner determined McNulty died of cardiovascular disease. She hadn't been seen by a neighbor since a hospital visit in July 2013.
A former student of McNulty's is now living in NYC, working as a composer. He describes his former teacher as strict and disciplined but enthusiastic and passionate about music. He credits her with inspiring him.
"Very enthusiastic about what she did," said Philip Rothman, who also described McNulty as passionate about music and teaching.
Police in Maine had done welfare checks before based on neighbor concerns, but didn't have any cause to forcefully enter the home.
Her body was found last Friday, after several things came together. The town began to initiate foreclosure proceedings because she had not paid property taxes since 2011. And the post office had stopped trying to deliver mail to McNulty.
When a friend tried to send a Christmas card to McNulty and it was returned, he called police. Her friend's concerns combined with the foreclosure proceedings were enough for police to enter the trailer, where they found McNulty deceased.
Police described McNulty as a hoarder, saying her trailer was full of stuff, though it was all clean and neat. They have made contact with a local couple named in McNulty's will who appear to be former colleagues.
The Amherst Center for Senior Services says it's easy to prevent situations like this.
"Daily contact is the best preventative measure because even if somebody's not feeling well they can convey that to somebody and they can kind of be on alert that maybe something else is going on," said Tammy Jacobs.
Jacobs suggests people who know of an elderly family member or neighbor who lives alone set up a time for daily phone calls or emails.
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