LOUISA COUNTY, Va. -- By the time Toni Anderson's body was found in her Louisa mobile home, investigators believe she may have been dead for a year or more. A concerned neighbor who realized he had not seen Anderson in some time climbed in through an open window and discovered her body on October 23.
Investigators believe Anderson, who would have been 52 years old, died from natural causes.
Anderson lived alone and did not have a job where someone would have reported her missing, Louisa Sheriff's Detective Mark Stanton said.
After weeks, officers found relatives in West Virginia, but there were still hurdles.
"They're not the most wealthy people on the face of the earth," said Major Donnie Lowe. "In fact, I'm told the one relative who might have the funds to help out with a proper service is in a coma; which is even more tragic to the family."
Now investigators are turning to the community for help.
"We've been in communications with a local funeral home and some local churches, but what we would like to do is give them the opportunity to have some closure," said investigator Mark Stanton.
Thomasson Watson Funeral Home has agreed to pick up some of the costs of burial. And a community fund has been set up at the Community Bank in Louisa. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 888, Louisa, VA 23093.
The sheriff's office is hopeful that the big hearts in this small community will help bring in the nearly $3,000 to cover Anderson's expenses; so she can finally rest in peace.
Dead almost a year
Anderson's mobile home was situated approximately 1,000 feet away from her closest neighbor.
"He was concerned that he had not seen her in a long time," Stanton said of the neighbor who discovered her. "When he went over there he got to the door and knocked and no one answered the door. He saw a window was open in the back and he climbed in and called out her name and that's when he found Miss Anderson."
Stanton said they believe from dated materials found in her home, and from calendars, it appears that she died somewhere between September 2014 and December 2014.
"She was reported to have been a private person," Stanton said. "She wasn't employed. Her father died three years prior and she was living there by herself."
"This has been a wake-up call for us," Minister Evelima Thurston, who knew Anderson from church, said. "There are so many people out there living alone and if you know some of them, check on them. Now I wish I had called police and said please check on her. I knew that she wanted to go back to Maryland, so I assumed she just left. We shouldn't take anything for granted."
Anderson was found dead in her bed, which led investigators to believe she passed away in her sleep.