Skeletal remains may be those of woman missing since 2015

HOUSTON – No formal identification has been made on skeletal remains found Saturday in a Heights area home, but neighbors and police are leaning toward the possibility of the remains being those of a 61-year-old woman who once owned the home and has not been seen since 2015.

Tax records show that Mary Cerruti owned the home, but foreclosure proceedings indicated that she had missed 10 loan payments by January 2015. Court records show that bank that held the loan sought foreclosure in March 2015.

Months and years passed as new development surrounded the modest home at 610 Allston and neighbors noticed that Cerruti had not been seen and her mail was piling up.

Police said in August of 2015 that a friend of Cerruti's reported her missing and said he had not spoken to her in about 6 months. Police said officers went into the home and found several dead and decaying cats. Neighbors said Cerruti was known to care for stray cats in the neighborhood.

A missing person flier was generated in September 2015 in hopes that someone would know what happened to Cerruti. Police said two distant cousins also came forward in September 2016 after learning that Cerruti was listed as missing while they were conducting genealogy research.

Police said the two cousins offered samples of their DNA in the hope that Cerruti could be identified if she were one day found. Police said the cousins told officers that they had not had contact with Cerruti since 1985.

Police do not believe that Cerruti had any family in the Houston area.

The last known job that Cerruti held was as a clerk at Casa Ramirez on 19th Street in the Heights. One of the owners told KPRC that it was not uncommon for Cerruti to work for a time and then disappear for a month or two.

They said she was very bright, well read and creative and had a curious mind. They said the only health problem they knew of was that Cerruti was prone to headaches.

Police said the home's new owners were tinkering around in the attic on Saturday when a board gave way and skeletal remains were found in a crawl space.

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Science is working on identifying the remains and a cause of death.