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Woman charged with putting 96-year-old mother's body in freezer

Woman charged with putting mother's body inside freezer in Portage Park
Woman charged with putting mother's body inside freezer in Portage Park 01:53

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Northwest Side woman was charged Wednesday with concealing the death of her 96-year-old mother.

The body of Regina Michalski was found in a freezer in a garage in Portage Park this week.

Michalski's daughter – Eva Bratcher, 69, of the 5500 block of West Melrose Street – now stands charged with one count of concealing a death and moving a body, and one count of possessing a fraudulent ID card – both felonies.

Eva Bratcher Chicago Police

Sabrina Watson is Bratcher's estranged daughter and Michalski's granddaughter.

"My mother has no love - not even for herself," Watson said. "No love for humanity. No love for anybody else."

De Mar asked Watson what the motivation would be for her mother to conceal her grandmother's death in such a fashion.

"Money," Watson said. "It's always been money. She would steal my identity for money. She did it to my sister. She did it to my husband."

Regina Michalski Michalski Family

Watson believes Bratcher was collecting her own mother's Social Security.

 "I know she was," Bratcher said. "That's why she didn't call the police."

Sabrina Watson CBS 2

Robert Bratcher was married to Eva for more than 20 years.

"I hope they're following the money on this," he said.

Mr. Bratcher's conclusions about his ex-wife's motive lined up with what Watson said.

"Her mother, I'm sure, was withdrawing Social Security," he said.

It was Watson – a Kentucky resident – who called Chicago Police to make the wellbeing check at the Melrose Street two-flat on Monday. The gruesome discovery followed.

She said she told dispatchers: "I hope I'm wrong, but I doubt she's alive at 96. So could you please just go to the property and knock on the door or look around?"

Indeed, police found Michalski's decomposed body in the freezer in the garage.

Meanwhile, neighbors said before Michalski's body was discovered, her daughter had told them conflicting stories about the older woman's whereabouts.

"She was telling different neighbors different stories," said Brigette Yanez, who lives in the same two-flat. "Like some people, she was saying she was in a nursing home in Wisconsin. To other people, she had already passed away. And to me, she was still talking about her, like she was still alive."

At last check, an autopsy had not been conducted on Michalski's body, so it is unknown how she died.

Eva Bratcher, again, is due in court on Thursday.

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