2006_11_skeleton.jpgWhere to begin? Seventy-three year old Joanne Iversen had been telling her neighbors in a Bay Ridge apartment building that her husband, 78 year old Frank, was visiting friends when they stopped seeing him around a few years ago or that he moved upstate. But when her 38 year old son Paul, who wanted to reconcile since they have been estranged for many years when he told them he was gay, came to the house, she told him his father was in the bedroom. Only, Richard Iversen's decomposed remains were on the bed.

The Daily News reports that Paul Iversen found his father "in a fetal position under a pile of bed covers and clothes," and made his mother tell the police. Joanne Iversen said she wanted to keep collecting her husband's Social Security benefits, so she hid his passing. Neighbors, who knew that elderly woman hoarded newspapers and junk in her apartment, now suspect a "horrible, unbearable" smell coming from the Iversens' apartment was the rotting body. What is also weird: Apparently the Iversens had another estranged son who was told by Joanne Iversen that his father was dead.

An autopsy is being performed, but police believe Richard Iversen probably died of natural causes. Joanne Iverson has not been charged yet, though mishandling the disposal of a dead body is against the health code - and the police are investigating whether she was illegally taking Social Security checks. The widow has also checked into Bellevue for psychiatric evaluation.