The body of a Belfast woman believed to have been dead for two years was found lying in her bed by police.

PSNI said officers are investigating the death of 68-year-old Marie Conlon, who may have died around January 2015. It is believed she may have been murdered.

The Irish Times reports that a 23-year-old man, who has been charged in connection with the discovery of the woman’s body, is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court on November 5. He has been charged with offenses related to theft, fraud, burglary and preventing the lawful burial of a body.

PSNI officers found Conlon’s body lying in a bed in her Belfast apartment after concerns were raised about her whereabouts.

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Detective Chief Inspector Alan Dickson said: "Authorities were alerted on Friday after concerns were raised about the welfare of 68 year old Marie Conlon.

"Officers forced entry to her Larkspur Rise home and discovered her deceased in bed. It was apparent that she had lain undiscovered for some time.

Google street view of Larkspur Rise, Belfast where the body of Marie Conlon was found. Credit: Google

Google street view of Larkspur Rise, Belfast where the body of Marie Conlon was found. Credit: Google

"A post mortem examination was carried out and the results suggest that the death may have been suspicious. Further testing is due to take place," he said, according to Metro.co.uk.

"Detectives investigating the circumstances of the death have established that the last known sighting of Ms Conlon was in January 2015.

"It is our belief, supported by the medical evidence, that her death may have occurred at around this time."

Forensic examinations to determine the cause of her death are ongoing.

Family issued a statement on Thursday saying Conlon, who lived in the Larkspur Rise area of west Belfast, was an “independent” woman and that she will be “mourned greatly.”

“We are shocked and heartbroken to learn about the loss of our beloved sister, Marie Conlon. The tragic circumstances of her death make it all the more difficult to comprehend and accept.

“Marie was very much loved by her family and will be mourned greatly. She was a very independent person.

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“Numerous attempts had been made to contact her in person, and by other means, over the course of the past two years but at no point were suspicions raised that she had been deceased.

“It is only with hindsight that the unimaginable now seems possible.

“We have been working closely with the PSNI to bring this devastating situation to an end.

“We hope and pray that justice will be done and ask for privacy as we grieve the loss of our sister.”

Crime scene tape with blurred investigators in background.iStock