January 7, 1997 in Nation/World

Relative ‘In Denial’ About Death

Compiled From Wire Services

A man tended to his dead 86-year-old relative for a week as if she still were alive, even giving the corpse sponge baths.

Police discovered the decomposed body of Gertrude Weinstein face-up in her bed after 56-year-old Eugene Canessa called Monday to say “there was something wrong” with her, said officer Kevin Tyrrell, a police spokesman.

The medical examiner said Weinstein probably died a week ago of natural causes.

Canessa “had been taking care of the body and giving it sponge baths,” Tyrrell said. “He apparently was in denial.”

Canessa was hospitalized and will undergo a psychiatric examination.

Police are uncertain how Canessa and Weinstein were related. Neighbors in the Brooklyn apartment building said Canessa was Weinstein’s stepson.

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