Hearing delayed in hidden corpse case

A hearing for a Carson City caretaker accused of concealing the body of an elderly woman while stealing from her estate was canceled Friday when the public defender's office was removed from the case.

Public Defender Steve McGuire withdrew as 33-year-old Kelly Sue Hein's attorney. He cited a conflict of interest because several witnesses are also represented by the office.

A new hearing to examine evidence against Hein is set for Aug. 24 at 9 a.m. In the meantime, a new attorney will be assigned for Hein's defense.

McGuire told Justice of the Peace John Tatro he learned of recently added witnesses Thursday night.

Hein is being held at the Carson City Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. She is charged with elder abuse causing bodily harm, theft, unlawful use of a credit card and check forgery. She did not appear with McGuire on Friday.

The partially decomposed body of Iris Barton, 79, was discovered by Parole and Probation Division officers on July 20 in an upstairs bedroom at 4722 Blackrock Court. The officers were looking for Kenneth Calihan, who listed the North Carson home as his residence.

When Hein answered the door, the officers said, the could smell the corpse. When they went upstairs to search for Calihan, another man who had been living at the home opened the bedroom door, revealing Barton's body.

Hein was taken into custody and interviewed by Detective Steve Johnson that night. She reportedly admitted living with Barton's body and said Barton had died of natural causes June 27.

Results are pending on a chemical analysis that could confirm the date of death. A physical autopsy - hampered by the state of decomposition - did not reveal any signs of foul play.

Hein also reportedly told Johnson she had written checks on Barton's account and used her debit card for a total of $2,700. Barton's financial records are being reviewed by investigators. Authorities have not ruled out the possibility of additional criminal charges.

Reports indicate Hein moved in with Barton in June of 1998, after the death of Barton's husband. Hein had previously lived next door with her estranged husband and their two children.


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