Woman in freezer: Eva Bratcher charged after 96-year-old mother Regina Michalski found dead in Cragin home

Woman in freezer: Eva Bratcher charged after 96-year-old mother Regina Michalski found dead in Cragin home

CHICAGO (WLS) — A Chicago woman has been charged after the body of her 96-year-old mother was discovered in a freezer at a Northwest Side home.

Eva Bratcher, 69, is accused of covering up the death of Regina Michalski, whose body was found at the home on the 5500 block of W. Melrose Street.

Eva Bratscher, 69.

Chicago Police Department

Sabrina Watson said she was the one who called the Chicago police to check on her grandmother and told them she felt something was wrong.

“It started with a wellness check and ended with someone being found in the freezer,” Watson said.

Nobody had seen Michalski for years; not her family or her neighbors.

“The people who live in the basement say their mother died. They knew she was dead and when I asked the owner about her mother, she said she was in a nursing home in Wisconsin,” tenant Hector Yanez said.

Watson called CPD from her home in Kentucky to check on her grandmother, from whom she was estranged. She lived with Watson’s mother in an apartment building at 5500 block of West Melrose Street in Chicago’s Cragin neighborhood.

“I can’t really explain it,” Watson said. “Call it intuition, if you will.”

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When the police conducted the health check, they found her grandmother’s body in a freezer.

“I assumed that she was no longer alive and no longer with us. I didn’t suspect it was found in the conditions it was found in and where it was found,” Watson said.

She said Michalski was a Polish immigrant who survived World War II.

Residents of the building believe their landlord may have placed their elderly mother’s body in the freezer. They said the garbage had been piling up for a while and they felt something was wrong.

Authorities removed a freezer from a garage behind the apartment building on Monday evening. A source told ABC7 Chicago that inside was the body of a 96-year-old woman. The freezer was in a location that local residents said they couldn’t access.

Yanez, who lives on the top floor with his family, said police arrested his landlord, who lives on the first floor, after the body was found.

“She wouldn’t open it, so they broke down the doors to get in, and there’s a lot of stuff in the apartment that they couldn’t even get in,” Yanez said.

Yanez said his landlady had lived in the ground-floor apartment with her elderly mother for years.

“When I came down the stairs they told me they were looking for the owner because they got a call from abroad saying there was (an) old lady who probably died and she never buried her ‘ Yanez said.

Neighbors said they hadn’t seen the elderly woman in years, and the homeowner told residents various stories about her mother’s whereabouts.

He also said no one had access to the garage.

“Nobody, nobody, she used to rent the garage to one of the guys in the basement, but after a while she stopped renting the garage to them,” Yanez said.

He said he believes the change happened about three years ago.

CPD is calling the incident a death investigation

ABC7 Chicago cameras rolled as investigators were seen seemingly pulling a freezer from the home. So far they have not said whether a foul play was involved.

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