SINGAPORE - The stack of newspapers and the odd smell coming from the flat should have been telling signs.
But it was only when relatives went looking for Madam Tay on Tuesday night did they discover that something was amiss.
One neighbour, who declined to be named, told TNP that Madam Tay's niece had called to wish her 84-year-old aunt a "Happy Birthday" and could not reach her, prompting the visit.
When Madam Tay did not answer the door of her three-room flat at Stirling Road, they called the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the police at about 8.45pm, reported Shin Min Daily News.
Their worst fears came true when the authorities forced open Madam Tay's door and found her lying motionless.
She was pronounced dead on the spot by the paramedics, police said.
A neighbour who declined to be named told TNP in Mandarin: "Madam Tay fell and hit her head in one of the rooms. She was living alone so there wasn't anyone to help her."
The neighbour added that the uncollected newspapers stacked at her door dated as early as Saturday.
"Madam Tay must have met with the accident on Friday," she said.
By the time paramedics found Madam Tay, there was a smell coming from her flat, said the neighbour.
She said she has known "Margaret" for over 40 years. Both of them moved in around the same time during the 1970s, she said.
The unmarried Madam Tay lived on her own, after her mother who was living with her passed away .
"She liked the freedom of living alone.
"She was also healthy, other than her rheumatism problems in her legs, and would regularly attend church services and head downstairs to buy food."
She said that the last time she saw Madam Tay was "about a week ago", but she thought "she was just staying with her relatives".
Another neighbour, who also declined to be named, said he felt something was amiss on Tuesday afternoon.
He said: "I could smell something and there were uncollected newspapers at her door.
"I tried peeping into her flat and calling out for Madam Tay, but there was no answer. So I didn't think much of it."
When he heard what happened that night, he said he was shocked. "We will do what we can to help the family," he said.
Police have classified the case as an unnatural death and are investigating.
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