CORBIN, Ky. (WKYT) - A neighbor checking on an elderly woman made a startling discovery after finding her dead and partially eaten by her pets, according to Whitley County investigators.
The neighbor called authorities late Tuesday afternoon after becoming concerned about not seeing the 70-year-old neighbor for several days, according to Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell.
The sheriff told WKYT that the woman lived in a converted storage building on Little Spruce Creek Road in Corbin with her dogs.
"The place where she was living was very basic needs. To my knowledge she didn't have running water. There is electricity but it's not a normal way to live," said Lt. Millard Root with the Whitley County Sheriff's Office.
Investigators say she owned more than a dozen dogs, some of which even stayed and slept inside the small shed with her.
On Tuesday, her neighbor made a startling discovery inside the shed.
"It was a neighbor that would come in and help her feed her dogs and her animals, someone who checked in on her from time to time."
According to investigators, the neighbor found the elderly woman dead and partially eaten by her dogs.
This past winter, the sheriff's office says they began receiving calls from neighbors who were worried about the woman's welfare.
Officials say whenever they went to check on her, she would assure them that her living conditions were suitable at the time.
"She said she had everything she needed and all that she wanted. Every time I talked to her she seemed like she was in her right mind and capable of making her own decisions."
Although it's believed the woman may have died from natural causes, the Whitley County coroner cannot yet confirm the exact cause of death.
While it's believed the woman died of natural causes, the sheriff said a death investigation is underway.
In addition to the sheriff's department, the coroner and animal control officers are also involved in the investigation.
Animal control removed 13 dogs from the woman's property and are expected to return later in the week to retrieve more dogs.