An elderly woman living with her brother’s body was filmed trapped in her filthy garage just hours after the grim discovery.
Maree, a Geelong woman, believed to be in her 70s, was interviewed by Geelong detectives and released without charge in December 2022 after fOrense specialists in biohazard suits recovered the remains of his brother, Robert Natoli, from his home.
Daily Mail Australia obtained a harrowing video interview with Maree taken by a concerned citizen after she returned to her closed p.Public housing property in the Geelong suburb of Newtown, south-west of Melbourne.
Sitting behind a mountain of trash under the porch at the back of her house, Maree chatted politely with her interviewer about her life.
“I’ve never been married, no kids, no partner, no anything,” Maree said.
Maree sits among trash strewn across her garage hours after her brother was found rotting inside.
Upstairs is the room where Maree’s brother was found dead.
‘I used to have a family, but now mom and dad passed away. I don’t have anyone now. And my aunts too. And uncles. I have cousins.’
When asked if she had any siblings, Maree said she didn’t have any.
‘No. No, I haven’t,’ she exclaimed sadly.
Hours earlier, the police had taken her away in handcuffs from the same property after discovering the skeletal remains of her brother, who would have turned 76 this year.
Maree told the woman she was hopeful she would be granted access back to the dilapidated property, which was still littered with trash of all kinds.
“They have to do something,” said Maree, who had been baking in the warm summer sun.
Inside the Newtown apartment where Maree lived with her dead brother for years
Black mold and debris covered Maree’s house
When offered food and water, Maree refused it despite her bleak situation.
‘I don’t have food here… it’s okay. Thank you. You are a good girl, thank you very much for doing that. I’ll be fine. I have water down there,” she said, referring to the backyard faucet.
The woman who captured the video and asked to remain anonymous told Daily Mail Australia that Maree spent the next three days suffocating in her garage.
‘Marie arrived later that night after being arrested and we called the (housing) department straight away and they came and told her they weren’t allowing her in the house, so she left. And then the next morning, she was back doing her garden and moving the containers,” the woman said.
“That’s when she was sitting under the carport and I thought someone was with her, she was talking to someone in the backyard, but there was no one there.”
The woman said Maree seemed to be in good condition and was chatting happily about neighborhood gossip from years before.
‘She would remember people’s names. ‘She doesn’t have dementia because she could remember things that happened years ago…she was just having a normal conversation.’
The woman filmed part of the exchange in hopes it could be useful to authorities.
Victoria Police spokesperson Kathryn Muffett told Daily Mail Australia on Friday that Maree’s well-being after being released was not her concern.
‘The woman was discharged from the hospital. tThis would be a matter for DFFH (the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing),’ he responded by email.
The apartment where Maree lived for years with the decomposing corpse of her brother Robert
A department spokesperson called the incident tragic and expressed ““Our deepest condolences to the man’s family and friends.”
“All complaints received were taken seriously and staff attempted to address them in compliance with tenants’ rights under the Residential Tenancies Act,” the department said.
‘The Department had made numerous attempts to inspect the property and contact the tenant and had a request on VCAT to secure access to the house.
“The man’s sister was immediately provided with alternative housing and support services.”
But Maree said the department had locked her out of her home.
“She said, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m not a criminal. “They won’t let me in and they won’t give me the key,” said the concerned citizen.
When police were told they had located a body inside, Maree claimed he knew nothing about it.
“That’s what they were saying,” Maree told the woman.
‘There was no body there. I have lived there for years and would have known if there was a body there.
Government representatives eventually arrived with health workers, but Maree refused to come out of her garage, a neighbor said.
“We thought they would have forced her because she was clearly mentally ill. She said: ‘I don’t trust doctors. I don’t trust anyone. I’ve never been to a doctor and I’m fine. “And they just left her there,” the neighbor said.
‘She was there for three days after this happened and just sat under the carport. She would go out for a walk and come back. In the end, a neighbor took her in for days and her apartment ended up giving her a new house.’
Maree told neighbors she had never had any form of identification and it is unknown if she was receiving any Centrelink payments.
‘It’s like she came out of nowhere and started living in the house. We don’t know where she came from. “She claimed she lived in Sydney at one point, but who knows if that’s true,” a neighbor said.
Video obtained by Daily Mail Australia from a person authorized to enter the house showed Maree’s house strewn with rubbish.
Maree’s cupboards were full of cat food, which she used to feed local stray dogs.
Maree couldn’t even access her bathroom, which was covered in trash.
The room where his brother was supposedly found dead had piles of garbage, and the bathroom, kitchen and bedrooms looked like a dump.
It is understood Maree had been living in the house for years without electricity or a water connection.
On the day of her arrest, police had gone to Maree’s home to conduct a welfare check, but she refused to let them in, a witness told Daily Mail Australia.
“They used a crowbar and broke it and then entered the house and saw the deceased, arrested Maree and took her away,” the witness said.
Video of that arrest later appeared on TikTok, sparking renewed interest in Maree’s plight.
Maree was known to spend most of her days outdoors, where she was often seen cutting grass with regular scissors and removing containers from the road.
‘He spent hours outside as if he were cleaning his garden, but in reality he wasn’t cleaning it. “She was just moving trash,” a neighbor said.
Neighbors told Daily Mail Australia that while they believed Maree was mostly harmless, she became confrontational when asked about her strange antics.
“She wasn’t physically aggressive, but she was always yelling, angry and confrontational,” one neighbor said.
His brother, believed to have died at least five years before his body was found under a pile of garbage, was described by neighbors as mentally ill.
‘It was his brother’s house and everyone thought he had moved away. At first it was just him in the house and Maree moved in later,” said a neighbor.
‘It was weird. He would go out and walk around in his underwear and stuff, but then Maree came and they were both there for a while…he was mostly inside, while Maree was always outside.’
Every room was full of trash.
Police officers at the scene
Neighbors claimed Maree was determined to ensure that CCTV cameras installed in her apartments did not focus on her house, which was always shrouded in darkness by moldy blinds.
Nicole Stratton, who has lived directly behind the house for the past six years, told Daily Mail Australia she had made numerous complaints to Victoria’s Department of Family, Equity and Housing about her neighbour, but they were unable to discover the body.
While the neighbors didn’t realize the filth Maree lived in, her trash-filled garage had been more than enough to warrant concern.
‘They came and checked me, they asked about her and I complained about the smell. It was disgusting and the garage was always full of (garbage),’ she said last week.
‘I always thought the smell was just rubbish because she was always picking up rubbish from everywhere. I just thought it was the old trash left under the garage.
‘The blinds were always drawn and there was mold. She never opened the house.