Deputies who went to a Lakeside apartment to evict the tenant instead found a body inside a suitcase-like container Tuesday.
Court Services deputies said they went to the Riverview Villa Apartments at 11665 Woodside Avenue to serve an eviction notice for failing to pay rent at about 8:30 a.m. However, the woman living there volunteered information about a body inside.
She allowed the deputies to go in, and they quickly smelled the odor of decomposition coming from a duct tape-sealed container, according to San Diego County Sheriff's Lt. Ken Nelson.
The home was sealed off until a homicide team could arrive with search warrants. They soon confirmed there was a body inside the container. It may have been there six months to more than a year, according to sheriff's investigators.
They believe the body belongs to an adult relative of the tenant, described by neighbors as a quiet woman in her late 50s.
"We'd see her walk her dog all the time, and she's kind of standoffish," said neighbor Chris K.
The woman has been questioned by investigators and was taken to a hospital for treatment, though officials would not say for what. No charges have been filed at this point.
The medical examiner's office soon arrived to take the container and body away, covering it in a tarp and blanket to conceal it.
Neighbors in the complex say they feel like they're in a TV crime series. They cannot believe a woman next door may have been living with a dead relative for the past year.
"It smelled like that — it was so awful. The upstairs neighbor said she could smell it through her walls," Chris said.
Investigators cleared the scene Tuesday night, but winds were still wafting the foul odor of the body out to the complex's sidewalk.