If you’re wondering why there are no photos of the foyer in this listing for the ranch home at 8402 Glenscott St. in the southeast Houston neighborhood of Meadowbrook Freeway, it’s likely out of respect. Because that’s the room where Sybil Berndt, the previous owner of this 3-bedroom, 2-bath home, fell, lay still face down on the floor for 3 days, passed away, and then slowly decomposed over the course of 3 months, all while her twin 48-year-old sons Edwin and Edward carried on with their lives, staying inside and watching TV and eating popcorn, potato chips, and candy.
There was a brief period after their mother fell, 2 days before her 89th birthday, when the twins considered getting her to a hospital, but they worried they might not be able to pay for her medical bills, according to investigators. Later, they worried how they might pay for her funeral. (It appears their mother had more than enough money to cover both.) Their mother, according to the twins’ account, never asked for help.
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Paint and Carpet Magic
NO INDICTMENT FOR TWINS WHO LEFT MOM ALONE Murder charges have been dismissed against 48-year-old twins Edwin and Edward Berndt, who let their mother lie on the foyer floor of their Meadowbrook Freeway home for 3 days after she slipped and fell— and then left her body to rot in place for 3 months after she died there. The Berndt’s attorney, Robert Scardino, has claimed the twins were born mentally disabled and had depended on their mother for their care. He described the scene investigators found at 8402 Glenscott St. to 11 News reporter Courtney Zubowski back in May: “It doesn’t appear that there was any hygiene [or] baths or showers taken. There was water, but it was trickling water. There was no air conditioning. There were a lot of empty popcorn bags in the house. There were a lot of broken egg shells in the house and a lot of empty tin cans where they were eating food out of a tin can which indicated to me there wasn’t any grocery shopping. . . . It was in a state that I’m not sure even the most warped director in Hollywood could have made up the scene in that house.” [KHOU 11 News; previously on Swamplot] Photo: ABC News
A bit more on those twin brothers over in Meadowbrook Freeway who spent the last 3 months living in their home at 8402 Glenscott St. with the rotting dead body of their 89-year-old mother. Turns out Sybil Berndt was not found decomposing on the floor of the living room for all that time, as was first reported — her corpse was lying face down in the foyer, right behind the front door pictured here. Which might explain why Edwin Berndt thought it would be wiser to let in the police officer who came to investigate reports of concern about his mother (she wasn’t responding to her voicemail messages, a neighbor had reported) through the side door. Oh — and one more thing: Edwin and his brother Edward left their mother on the floor right where she fell for 3 whole days — alive — before she started in with that dying and decomposing bit.
The story of the 48-year-old couldn’t-be-bothered twins and the stench of their mother’s corpse has now been reported in newspapers, on teevee news, and on websites all over the world. But no retelling of the events we’ve come across so far has managed to surpass the deadpan drama of the Probable Cause affidavit prepared by HPD sergeant R. Torres, who was called to the scene shortly after Berndt’s body was found. Torres’s writeup brings together brilliantly the many themes of multigenerational family life the story so shockingly cartoons: fears of falling among the elderly, the selflessness of mothers, unacknowledged (or at least uncelebrated) birthdays, incapacitating miserliness, the difficulty of meal preparation, a parent’s financial support, bluffing, and of course, the ungratefulness of children:
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AT HOME IN MEADOWBROOK FREEWAY Found in the living room of a 53-year-old home still occupied by 40-something twins on the corner of Glenscott and Hinman, just northwest of the Gulf Freeway’s Monroe exit: the decomposing corpse of their 88-year-old mother. A neighbor had called Adult Protective Services after the woman, who had been active in the Meadowbrook Freeway Civic Club, stopped returning messages. A police source described the smell as “unimaginable,” a police source tells 11 News reporter Courtney Zubowski: “’Everything was closed up for so long,’ said the neighbor. ‘She would go to the country for a week or she would go to the country for maybe two weeks tops and this is like three months, maybe two-and-a-half months.’ What detectives are trying to figure out now is why the brothers didn’t call for help.” [KHOU 11 News; previously on Swamplot]