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Cause of death released in Heights bones case By Emily Foxhall Updated 1:58 pm, Thursday, June 15, 2017The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences has released a long-awaited cause of death determination for the bones found months ago in the wal

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences has released a long-awaited cause of death determination for the bones found months ago in the wall of a Heights bungalow, where a woman had gone missing several years before.
Their findings on manner of death? Undetermined.
DNA results on the skeletal remains are still pending. At least one tooth was sent to the DNA lab at the University of North Texas. But an official there at the time said it could be months before staff were able to process it.
A recent cut in federal funding had contributed to a backlog at the lab, as agencies across the country tried to get in their requests before the money ran out, lab spokesman Todd Matthews said.

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And so the mystery continues: Are those the bones of Mary Cerruti?
PART 1: Bones found in the wall of Heights home of woman who disappeared
New tenants moving into Cerruti's home discovered the skeletal remains in March, resurfacing the question of what had happened to the woman who lived there.
For more than 10 years, Cerruti resided in the small, yellow bungalow on Allston Street. She worked occasionally at a store nearby. A few acquaintances would come to visit. But she mostly kept to herself, neighbors said. She often seemed ill. She found joy in tending to a number of cats.
She did attend at least one city meeting, however, when developers forged ahead with building a massive apartment building around her home. She and others in the neighborhood protested it. But they lost. Bulldozers began razing the property around her. The towering structure went up.
PART 2: Mysterious bones, a missing woman and the ordinary life she lived
Cerruti battled with the headaches of construction, taking photographs of it. She scrawled notes on the back of the developed images.
Two 911 callers grew concerned about Mary in June 2015. A window had been broken on her home, which seemed to be filled with dead cats. A friend officially reported her missing in August. Mail piled up in her lawn. The landscaping became overgrown.
Later, her house sold at foreclosure. The new owner renovated it. He offered her eclectic possessions for sale. New tenants moved in, found the remains and promptly moved out. Another pair of residents now live there but declined to speak on the matter.
Clues to what happened to Mary are now few and far between. If those bones are hers, many wonder how she ended up in the wall. Some who have followed her story suspect foul play, but no crime scene was ever preserved. Houston police have declined to comment on any search they did of the home.

Skeletal remains often reveal little on manner of death, forensic institute spokeswoman Tricia Bentley said. Wounds that didn't get passed onto the bone would be hard to determine.
A copy of the autopsy report was not immediately available for release Thursday morning.
For more of our reporting on Mary, go to houstonchronicle.com/bones.

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