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Mystery Surrounds Westchester County Elderly Woman’s Death

Neighbors Say They Never Saw Much Of Ida Austin; Son Speaks To CBS 2
Ida Austin

Ida Austin, 71, was found dead inside this Hartsdale, N.Y., home, her son said. Her cause of death is not yet known. (Photo: CBS 2)

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HARTSDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — What or who killed Ida Austin?

Investigators in Westchester County believe the circumstances of her death are suspicious. On Tuesday, CBS 2’s John Slattery spoke to the man who found Austin’s lifeless body.

James Austin, a 45-year-old baggage handler at the Westchester County Airport, is the one who found his mother dead.

“You know, I lost my mother. It’s the worst thing anybody can have. You only have one,” he said.

Ida Austin, 71, was a former health care worker who lived with her son in Hartsdale. A neighbor said she inherited the house from a man she used to care for. James Austin said the disturbing discovery came Monday morning.

“I found my mother’s body sitting on the couch,” he said.

Neighbors said they hadn’t seen the woman, who suffered from a back ailment, in some two to three years.

“The fact that we hadn’t seen her in so long, she hadn’t gone out or anything, just makes me think something was not right in the house there,” next-door neighbor Joan Hirsch said.

The house is very dark with all the shades pulled. The next-door neighbor said she used to question James about his mother.

“I used to ask him ‘how’s your mother?’ He’d say, oh fine. ‘Haven’t seen her;’ he’d say, she pops in and out. She wasn’t popping in and out,” Hirsch said.

Some neighbors, waiting for the autopsy report, believe the death raises questions.

When asked if think anything about the incident seemed odd, James Austin said, “I don’t but I’m not a doctor. So, that’s what I’m waiting for.”

When asked if she took medication, her son said she did not.

An investigative source that calls the death “peculiar,” said the exact cause won’t be known until a toxicology report is completed, at which time the son could become a suspect.

Toxicology reports can take several weeks to be completed. Pending that, the son was questioned and released.

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