A Georgetown woman might have been dead two years before her body was discovered in the trunk of her brother's car during a search late last week, police said Monday.
Penny Brown's body was found Friday in the trunk of a 1998 Chevy Malibu that police was towed from St. Louis. The car is registered in the name of her brother, Timothy Allen Brown of Georgetown.
Investigators were in search of Timothy Brown, 30, who is wanted for the knowing abuse or neglect of an adult and interstate flight to avoid prosecution. The FBI and the U.S. Marshal's Service have assisted in the investigation.
Georgetown Police Chief Greg Reeves said Timothy Brown was cashing his disabled sister's SSI checks, which were between $600 and $700 per month. Police have stopped the checks.
"It's pretty sad that someone would do this to a family member," Reeves said during a news conference on Monday. "He was the caregiver and he was receiving a check, and he was cashing that check, and she wasn't getting any care."
While she might have been dead for two years, Reeves said no missing person's report was made until Sept. 20.
That's when police began looking for Penny Brown, 31, who was confined to a wheelchair. Timothy Brown had initially told police that Penny was staying with an aunt, but a check with the aunt found that to false, Reeves said.
When police later searched Timothy Brown's apartment on Myers Drive, they did not find him or his sister, Reeves said.
The Chevy Malibu was found last week on Bancroft Avenue in St. Louis. Two Georgetown police detectives went to St. Louis and had a wrecker tow it back Wednesday to Scott County, where it remains in locked facility.
Reeves said it took a couple of days to obtain a search warrant to look in the car for any clues about Timothy or Penny's whereabouts.
Upon receiving the warrant Friday, police unlocked the trunk and "found a very badly decomposed body that was turned over" to Scott County Coroner John Goble and state medical examiner Emily Craig.
"The body was wrapped in blankets, which was an attempt to conceal the decomposition," Reeves said. "It was bagged with industrial-grade plastic" possibly to contain the odor, he said.
Reeves said it does not appear that the body had been in the trunk of the car for two years. "We believe that the body had been stored in another location, put into the vehicle, and then transported to St. Louis," Reeves said.
Penny Brown's cause of death is not known and might never be known "simply because of the condition of the body," said Mike Wilder, executive director of the state medical examiner's office in Frankfort.
"It's a very complex ordeal when you have skeletized remains and even some mummification involved," Wilder said.
Penny Brown was discharged from Georgetown Healthcare Center, a nursing home, in 2006. That apparently was the last time anyone saw her, and police believe she died shortly after that.
Not much is known about Timothy Brown. He was employed by a Speedway store on Darby Drive in Georgetown, not far from the apartment where he lived. Employees at Speedway declined to speak to a Herald-Leader reporter.
Timothy Brown is the father of an 8-year-old son whom the state removed from the Georgetown apartment around the time that the missing person's investigation began. Reeves didn't have other information about that, but said Timothy Brown disappeared shortly after that.
Timothy Brown has no criminal record other than a misdemeanor charge for possession of marijuana last year. He paid $245 in a fine and court costs in January, according to records in the Scott County Circuit Court Clerk's Office.
Kristy Courtney, a neighbor who lived in the apartment across from Timothy Brown, said he was quiet and "kept to himself."
Timothy Brown is described as a white male with blue eyes and blond hair. He is 6 feet tall and weighs between 230 to 250 pounds.
If you have information about the whereabouts of Timothy Allen Brown, call Georgetown police at (502) 863-7826.