News & Culture

Woman accused of keeping mother’s corpse in her house for more than a year appears in court

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. — The case of an Illinois woman accused of keeping her mother’s corpse in her house has been continued.

St. Clair County court records show 49-year-old Reena S. Hayashi appeared in court Oct. 7 for a status hearing.  Her next appearance is set for Dec. 2. She was arrested July 12.

Free on bond, Hayashi is charged with two counts of two counts of concealing a death and a single count of obstructing evidence, all Class 4 felonies that stem from a welfare check that was made at her home, where police found the body of 80-year-old Karen Hayashi in a bedroom. Authorities say she’d been dead for “an extended period of time,” possibly more than a year.

How Karen Hayashi died isn’t known. She was not a homicide victim, police said.

It is believed Reena Hayashi concealed the death to continue receiving her mother’s social security benefits. She continued to file her mother’s income taxes after she died, Fox 2 Now in St. Louis reported.

Prosecutors say Reena Hayashi was using air fresheners throughout the house to mask the odor of decomposition. When people asked about Karen, who had mobility issues, Reena allegedly told them her mom had moved to Hawaii.

In Illinois law, Class 4 felonies are punishable by one to three years in prison.