Funeral home employees find rope and candy wrapper stuffed in deceased Roxborough woman’s throat

A Roxborough woman is behind bars this week after a funeral home employee discovered a 10-inch rope in the throat of Kathleen Mcewan, 70, of Roxborough, who was believed to have died of natural causes on June 10. 

Philadelphia police say Geraldine Cherry, 49, was charged Wednesday night for murder without bail. She shares the same address as Mcewan on the 300 block of Parker Avenue. Police say it is unclear whether they lived together, if Cherry worked there, and what type of relationship they had. There is also no known motive.

Police say they had no reason to consider foul play at the time of death, so she was taken directly from her group home on Parker Avenue to the John J. Bryers Funeral Home Inc. in Willow Grove, Pa.

Funeral director Brian Hurst said nothing seemed out of the ordinary until they began doing prep work. Hurst said they closed Mcewan’s mouth and a rope “popped out.”

In a Philly.com article, another funeral home employee described the cotton rope as similar to one worn in a hoodie or drawstring pants.

A candy wrapper was also later found in her throat. 

“I thought it was a simple choking and I was definitely proven wrong,” said Hurst. “I am very surprised and shocked.”

The Medical Examiner ruled that Mcewan did not die from natural causes, but from asphyxia caused by the rope and a candy wrapper.  

Cherry’s preliminary court hearing is set for July 11.

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