Just before Mother’s Day, a 30-year-old, mentally-challenged woman was found with her deceased mother inside their Yishun home. According to a report by Lianhe Zaobao, the deceased was Weng Huiqiong, 60 years old, and resided in Block 704 in Yishun Road 5.
Neighbors called police when they smelled a foul stench emanating from the flat belonging to the two women. There, they found the 30-year-old woman, who was unable to answer police questions and provide information on her mother’s body. Her mother seemed to have been dead for five days.
According to the same report, the neighbors said that they had not seen the women emerge from the flat for five days or so.
How did the mother die?
Police investigators are still determining the older woman’s cause of death, but the report said that she used to work in a coffee shop. When Circuit Breaker measures were put in place, she stopped working.
A neighbour interviewed by the Chinese-language publication said that they had noticed a bad smell from the flat a few days before, but only reported it to the police when the stench intensified.
Weng Huiqiong’s body was found in a decayed state, and her daughter acted as if she did not realise anything was wrong. According to the report, she did not seem to know that her mother had died, even though the deceased’s body had begun to turn black.
Neighbours also said that the daughter was mentally-challenged, and was not responsive to queries or independent. She allegedly carried a doll around with her and did not speak to anyone. The same neighbors said that the daughter, despite her adult age, acted like a little girl. She seemed unable to understand that her mother had passed away.
What will happen to the daughter now?
The same report said that her father was not living with them. Relatives of the mother and daughter arrived to handle the funeral, but declined to be interviewed. The report is unclear on the fate of the mentally-challenged daughter.
“They are a poor family and are very pitiful. The mother and daughter seem to have some mental problems, but the mother works hard and will also greet us when we meet each other in the neighbourhood. Her daughter is more serious, though, and can only follow her mother. She only goes out, but never speaks,” said one of the people who knew the two women.
Lockdown measures hard on families with PWDs
This was not the first report of how difficult quarantine measures are on families that have persons with disabilities. An earlier report from South China Morning Post told the story of a mentally-disabled boy who was left home for six days without water, food, or hygiene supplies and eventually passed away before his father could get home from being quarantined for COVID-19.
The boy’s father appealed on Weibo for help, saying, “I have two disabled sons. My older son Yan Cheng has cerebral palsy. He cannot move his body, he cannot speak or look after himself. He has already been at home by himself for six days, with nobody to bathe him or change his clothes and nothing to eat or drink.”
Chinese officials are still investigating the death, but the 17-year-old cerebral palsy patient was clearly not attended to in the days before his death.