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July 22, 2019

Woman, 91, found dead in Brooklyn home she shared with mentally troubled son expired from natural causes: authorities

November 8, 2018
Police secure the scene at house on 26th Ave. in Midwood, Brooklyn, Wednesday night where an elderly woman was found dead. One of her sons was taken into custody. (Sam Costanza for New York Daily News)

A 91-year-old woman found dead in the Brooklyn home she shared with her mentally troubled son expired from natural causes, authorities have determined.

Petrina Masotto’s corpse was discovered Wednesday in the home on 26th Ave. near Bay 43rd St. in Midwood she shared with her son for decades.

Cops detained her son, Phillip Masotto, 55, who was acting erratically and told police he sliced the body because he was convinced it was a mannequin.

Investigators initially considered the death suspicious but the city medical examiner conducted an autopsy and found she died of a heart attack caused by high blood pressure.

She may have been dead for a day or two when another of Petrina Masotto’s sons, who lives downstairs, gained entry to her home and discovered the body.

Cops sent Phillip Masotto to a psychiatric facility after questioning him. It is unlikely he will be charged with any crime, sources said.

The son who discovered the body, Robert Masotto, said his troubled brother has had a long downward spiral into heavy drug use and mental illness.

“She knew there was something wrong with him,” Robert Masotto, 63, told the Daily News. “He had the water running on all night. He would run around naked. He was getting worse and worse. He was doing that cocaine for years.”

Medical examiner's office workers remove body of Petrina Masotto from her home Wednesday night.
Medical examiner’s office workers remove body of Petrina Masotto from her home Wednesday night. (Sam Costanza for New York Daily News)

With Phillip Masotto’s decline, his relationship with his mom deteriorated, his brother said.

“She loved him at first. She would stick up for him,” he said. “They became more and more distant between one thing or the other.”

“He tormented her,” he added. “All that aggravation. All the stress. It’s amazing she survived with that.”

The older son had trouble getting into his mother’s apartment before discovering her dead.

“He came out like he wanted to fight and said, ‘Get out of here, go downstairs,” he said. “He was out of his mind. It wasn’t real to him. He was saying it was a Halloween gag, it was fake. He said it was a dummy. He couldn’t tell reality from fantasy.”

Masotto said he now has to try to scrounge up the money for his mother’s funeral.

“I miss her so much,” he said. “She was a good woman.”

Her husband, a butcher, died about 30 years ago, and a third son, who served in the military, also died, neighbors said.

“I hope he don’t come back, especially the way he is,” Robert Masotto said of his brother.

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