Missing Heights neighbor, Mary Cerruti, left a self-portrait at home

Missing Heights neighbor Mary Cerruti

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Only a few neighbors on Allston Street knew a little about Missing Heights neighbor Mary Cerruti, a lady who quietly vanished around 2014. A year later, a realtor had to buy her Houston Heights home after a foreclosure auction. Then he offered all her belongings (trash for him) for sale.

A kind neighbor, Elizabeth Stein decided to pick up and save some of Mary’s stuff in case she comes back again. Turns out she left behind her own self-portrait in dozens of annotated photographs, developed at Walgreens.

Printed in 2013 and 2014, the pictures topics focused on two things: her cats, who brought her joy at home, and the restoration of her neighborhood.

Renters of the recently bought and renovated home found bones in the wall while cleaning. Mary had been missing for 2 years. They found a pair of eyeglasses, like the ones she wore.

The remains seemed to belong to a small, white woman, 40+ years old, such as Cerruti’s description.

A picture of Mary helped with the identification process. The owners of a place where she used to work gave it. The shape of the chin and jaw in the photo visually matched the shape of the bones, according to forensics.

Doctors never found useful medical records. They had to put together all pieces of evidence to come up with what they call “comprehensive identification”.

As remains were found in Mary’s home, more than a year after she had gone missing, and due to image-remains comparations, they decided that the remains must belong to Mary.


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