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By Robin Culverwell and Diana Rocco

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Roxborough woman is behind bars on charges she murdered a neighbor by stuffing a piece of rope down her throat.

Philadelphia police say 49-year-old Geraldine Cherry is jailed on charges of killing 70-year-old Kathleen McEwan, who police say was in the care of Resources for Human Development. Paramedics were called to the Parker Place Apartments in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia after McEwan was found unresponsive on June 10.

The piece of cotton rope was discovered after McEwan’s body was taken to John J. Breyers funeral home in Willow Grove to be prepared for burial. Morticians also discovered a candy wrapper deep inside the woman’s throat.

“I cleaned her all up, but her mouth was open and her tongue was hanging out so when I closed her mouth a rope popped out. It popped out about four inches,” said Brian Hurst, a funeral director at the funeral home.

Police say that’s when Hurst contacted them, they investigated, and then arrested Cherry, who also lived at the home.

Sources tell Eyewitness News the two were roommates. Employees at the group home won’t acknowledge they knew the women or talk about the incident. Resources for Human Development and the Medical Examiner’s office also had no official comment.
Cherry is charged with homicide by suffocation and possession of an instrument of crime.

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