One of our greatest fears when we die is that no one will care. It’s why many of us try our damndest to leave our mark on the world in one way or another, be it as simple as tagging street art or as grand as writing articles for an esteemed true crime blog.

Belfast resident Marie Conlon, 68, had realized that fear when she was discovered dead in her bed in an apartment on Larkspur Rise earlier this month. Conlon’s last known sighting was back in 2015. She had been dead for over two years.

No one noticed.

After “concerns were raised” about Conlon’s welfare, officers forced entry into her apartment where they discovered her remains. Because so much time had passed, the details of her death are still unknown. But a post-mortem examination has suggested that the death may be suspicious.

bt_1210KS17_039

A murder investigation was launched, and a 23-year-old unidentified man was arrested “on suspicion of a number of offenses including murder.” He has since been dropped as a suspect in this murder but has been charged with theft, fraud, and preventing the lawful burial of a body.

The family of Marie Conlon released a statement the following week that said: “We are shocked and heartbroken to learn about the loss of our beloved sister. The tragic circumstances of her death make it all the more difficult to comprehend and accept. Marie was very much loved by her family and will be mourned greatly. She was a very independent person.

“Numerous attempts had been made to contact her in person, and by other means, over the course of the past two years but at no point were suspicions raised that she had been deceased.

“It is only with hindsight that the unimaginable now seems possible.”

One wonders why, after no response from their “beloved sister” for two years, someone in her family didn’t raise the alarm. Was Conlon known to ignore her family members for years at a time? Did her family really put an effort into trying to contact her?

Or was someone in her family involved in her death?

A case like this leaves more questions than answers. SDLP councilor Brian Heading stated, “This is something that people need to think about, that if you don’t see your neighbor, knock on the door.”