Devastated family of a woman found dead at her home will never know how she died, an inquest heard.
Natalie Malbon, 30, was discovered lifeless on the floor of her bedroom.
A coroner’s court heard she had ‘cri du chat’ syndrome which causes hallmark ‘cat-like’ cry, a symptom that disappears over time.
Also known as chromosome 5p deletion syndrome, cri du chat syndrome gets its name from the characteristic noise and means ‘cat cry’ in French.
Other symptoms include cognitive, speech and motor disabilities and unusual facial features, which may change over time.
But the coroner recorded an open conclusion yesterday as the body was was in a level of decomposition, Stoke Sentinel says.
North Staffordshire Coroner’s Court was told Natalie’s last recorded weight was 175kgs or around 27 stone.
The charity shop volunteer – who had been living alone due to her mum being in hospital – also had dyspraxia which affected her coordination.
“A young girl 30 years of age, she had some health difficulties but none you would have expected her to have died from,” said Sarah Murphy, assistant coroner for Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.
“To go to the house and find her not alive must have been absolutely harrowing for the family.
“I understand the family would want the inquest to answer the question of how she died to help with closure, but unfortunately we don’t have evidence to give us a definitive answer as to how she died,”
“I think it’s possible she died as a result of a fall because of her dyspraxia, a developmental disorder, which affects her physically.
“I think it’s also possible she could have died through normal issues related to her weight and unfortunately we won’t know.
“Because of that we’re not able to record a conclusion of anything other than an open conclusion.”
Natalie’s sister Kimberley Simmons and her partner Nick Sims found the woman squashed behind the door in her pyjamas on February 6.
They had to break in to the flat in Meir, Stoke-on-Trent.
Nicola Long, mortuary services manager, provided evidence to say her team was unable to carry out a postmortem because the body was in a level of decomposition and doubted it would be able to provide a cause of death.
Natalie’s aunt Terry Knight told the hearing her niece suffered a lot of medical issues which prevented her from working but she had volunteered in the charity shop.
In a statement, she said: “She lived with her mother and struggled with mobility and obesity.
“Her last recorded weight was 175kgs.
“On October 23 her anti-depressant medication was increased, but her mood didn’t improve. Natalie was last spoken to by her sister Kimberley.
What is cri du chat syndrome?
Cri du chat syndrome, also known as chromosome 5p deletion syndrome, is a rare genetic disorder caused by the deletion on chromosome 5.
First described in 1963, the condition affects an estimated 1 in 50,000 live births and is more common in females by a 4:3 ratio.
It gets its name from the characteristic cry of affected infants, which is similar to that of a meowing kitten. This is caused by problems with the larynx and nervous system.
But about one third of children lose the cry by age of 2 years and most people are unaffected by this symptom in adulthood.
Other symptoms include;
- Poor growth
- Cognitive, speech and motor disabilities
- Behavioral problems such as hyperactivity
- Unusual facial features, which may change over time
- Widely-spaced eyes
“It was not unusual for Natalie to be alone in the house, she was independent and you couldn’t stop her, she’d put her foot down.
“Kimberley returned to the home and could not get in the house despite knocking on the door.
“Kimberley’s partner Nick Sims broke into the flat and police and paramedics found her lying on the floor in the bedroom in her pyjamas and there was the suggestion that she may have hit her head.”
Most people with cri du chat syndrome lose the ‘cat-like’ cry symptom by adulthood. About one third of children lose the cry by age of two years.