A 61-year-old Pennsylvania woman was arrested Wednesday and charged with theft and abuse of corpse for allegedly hiding her dead grandmother’s body in a freezer for 15 years so she could collect the woman’s Social Security benefits, state police said.
Cynthia Carolyn Black of York County had told police during their more than yearlong investigation that she had found Glenora Reckford Delahay dead inside their home in the Delaware County section of Ardmore in March 2004, police said.
Black carried the body to the basement and put it in a freezer because, she said, she needed her grandmother’s Social Security income.
The grandmother was 97 when she died.
Black told police that three years after her grandmother’s death, she moved the freezer with the body to Dillsburg, York County, and used the Social Security income to pay the mortgage on a home.
Public records show that Black moved to Kralltown Road in Dillsburg around 2007. Police said she most recently lived on South Front Street in York Haven, York County.
State police said they were tipped off about a body in a freezer at the Kralltown Road home on Feb. 7, 2019, but did not say who contacted them. Through DNA testing, they determined it was Delahay.
According to a report by WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, Delahay’s body had been found by two women who had been inspecting the Kralltown Road home because they were interested in buying it from the bank after it foreclosed. The potential buyers had told police they were looking around in an outbuilding when they discovered remains wrapped in trash bags and under blankets in a white chest freezer, the TV station reported.
Police issued an arrest warrant for Black on Tuesday, but did not say why the investigation took more than 15 months. She was taken into custody Wednesday and brought to the York County Judicial Center, where she was arraigned. She has a tentative preliminary hearing scheduled for June 10.
Black’s bail was set at $50,000 unsecured. She could not be reached by phone and it was unclear if she had an attorney.
Public records show that Glenn Black Jr., 55, also lived with Cynthia Black in the Ardmore home, on Haverford Road near Ardmore Avenue, and on Kralltown Road. He ran a business called Blacks Furniture Refinishing out of the home, records show.
He is held at the Franklin County Jail after pleading guilty to a charge of indecent assault of a substantially impaired person stemming from a February 2018 incident, court records show.
Neighbors who knew Cynthia and Glenn Black in Ardmore say they kept to themselves.
“They were very unfriendly,” said one neighbor who said she did not want her name used for fear of retribution. “They did not want any conversation.”
This woman said the Blacks’ yard was overgrown and that when they moved out, "they stripped the house,” taking the “copper pipes, toilets and everything.” They even took the chain-link fence around their yard that kept in their dog or dogs, she said.