A 71-year-old woman’s body was discovered after officers allegedly smelled an “odor of decomposition” in a Maryland home and now the victim’s daughter and granddaughter have been charged with her murder, according to authorities.
On June 2, officers responded to the Landover residence to conduct a welfare check after a family member of Margaret Craig said he hadn’t heard from her in several days, the Prince George's County Police Department stated.
Candace Craig, 44, answered the door and allowed officers into the home to search for her mother, officials said. While in the house, officers could smell an “odor of decomposition” coming from the basement, which prompted an investigation from the homicide and evidence units.
The victim was found in the basement, cut into pieces and stuffed in trash bags. Investigators believe Candace killed her mother on May 23 and then Candace’s daughter, 19-year-old Salia Hardy, tried to help her dispose of the body the next day.
According to court documents, the motivation for the murder is believed to be that Margaret discovered and threatened to report her daughter "for fraudulent use of her credit card."
Hardy told police about the credit card fraud allegations and stated she came home and "discovered [her grandmother's] remains in a blue bin in her bedroom," court records state.
Candace was able to convince her daughter into helping her cover up the crime, police said. They "began to dismember the [grandmother] with a chainsaw" and allegedly tried to "burn her remains on a grill and a fire."
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Authorities said the chief medical examiner's office will confirm the victim's identity and investigate the cause of death.
Craig and Hardy were both arrested and in custody of the Corrections Department. Craig was charged with first- and second-degree murder and Hardy was charged with being an accessory after the fact, officials said.
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Maj. David Blazer, commander of the major crimes division, said, “The detectives of the Homicide Unit will ensure a thorough investigation is conducted and that both suspects are held accountable for their cruel and criminal behavior.”
The investigation is ongoing.
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