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Neighbors "Deeply Disturbed" After Nephew Accused Of Stealing From Dead Aunt

Reported: May. 23, 2014 5:36 PM EDT
Updated: May. 23, 2014 6:41 PM EDT

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SCOTT DEPOT, W.Va. (Leslie Rubin) -- A Charleston man is in jail after deputies say he stole from his dead aunt.

Police say Christopher Sayre, 22, didn't tell anyone he had found his aunt partially decomposing, but he did help himself to thousands of dollars worth of her belongings.

"I don't know how this could happen where you live, but it did, so," Anna Huff said.

Huff lives next door to Cherly Steele, 64. Steele's body was discovered last Wednesday inside her Woodbine Farm Road home.

"All indications are that she was a fine, upstanding citizen," Putnam County Chief Deputy Eric Hayzlett said.

Deputies believe she had been dead for about two weeks. Family members quickly realized there were a lot of items missing from the home, and immediately, her nephew, Sayre, was considered a suspect.

A few days before her body was found, deputies said Sayre was there to borrow a car, but he did not tell anyone she was dead.

Deputies said Sayre told them he didn't want to tell anyone about what he had seen because he didn't want to be the one responsible for telling his family that his aunt was dead.

"I can only speculate that that was an excuse to cover up his thefts," Hayzlett said.

Deputies were able to track down the stolen items that included a Segway, fine jewelry and guns.

"Those items had been pawned by Mr. Sayre at some local pawn shops," Hayzlett said.

Deputies said Sayre eventually confessed to going to the home, and seeing his aunt lying on the floor, and that she had "turned black."

"The way the world is now, you never know," Huff said.

Sayre declined to comment from jail. He is charged with burglary and grand larceny.

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