Family friend says mom of woman found dead in U-Haul claims victim died of natural causes

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — New details are coming to light about the life and death of a 26-year-old woman who was found packed inside the back of a U-Haul van on Indy’s south side.

So far no arrests have been made.  Police say the victim’s mother is cooperating with their investigation.

Long before 26-year-old Alyssa Sanderfer was found dead in a plastic tote in the back of a U-Haul van, people who knew the family says they lived in squalor inside an Indianapolis home on Wallace Ave.

“Human waste was everywhere. They didn’t have running water or electricity. It was just horrible,” said Brandi Neely.

Brandi’s family rented the home to the Sanderfers and says Alyssa required near constant care.

“She basically just laid in bed all day and they fed her with a feeding tube,” said Neely.

Another family friend says Alyssa’s mother told her the 26-year-died of natural causes from the flu in late January or early February.

At that time, the mother told the friend she had Alyssa cremated, which turned out not to be true.

The cause of death has not been determined, but around the same time, the family suddenly packed up and moved.

“They cut out in the middle of the night. They rented a U-Haul and cut out,” said Neely.

This week, police say employees at U-Haul found Alyssa’s body while doing inventory on their trucks.  Despite being 26, Sanderfer had a very small frame, which is why initially police thought the body was a small child.

“I couldn’t believe it.  It’s just awful that anybody could do that,” said Neely.

Brandi for one thinks whoever made the decision to dispose of Alyssa in a plastic tote should be held accountable.

“You would figure someone should have said something.  Call 911 and just report it to somebody,” said Neely.

Even if the death is ruled to be from natural causes, criminal charges could still be filed for improper disposal of a body.