A woman accused of murdering her parents as long as five years ago has appeared in court, as police found human remains in their home.
Virginia McCullough, 35, was remanded in custody after appearing at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court charged with the murder of John McCullough, 74, and Lois McCullough, 76.
Essex Police said detectives investigating the murders had found human remains.
Ms McCullough, of Pump Hill, Chelmsford, was charged with two counts of murder from Aug 21 2018 to Sept 15 2023, following reports to Essex Police on Sept 13 over concerns for the welfare of two people in their seventies.
Appearing in court, Ms McCullough wore a grey sweatshirt. She will appear at Basildon Crown Court on Tuesday via video-link from prison.
Det Supt Rob Kirby, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Although we have received authorisation to charge Virginia McCullough, this complex and in-depth investigation will be continuing at pace throughout the coming weeks and months.
“I would like to reiterate that our continued belief is that this is an isolated incident and there is no threat to the wider Chelmsford or Essex public.
“Our thoughts today are with the families involved and I can assure them, all avenues of inquiry will be pursued extensively to piece together the circumstances around this matter.”
On Monday, police confirmed detectives had found the remains of two people.
“On Wednesday, Sept 13, we received reports of concerns for the welfare of two people aged in their 70s,” said Essex Police.
“This led officers to an address in Pump Hill, Chelmsford, where investigative work is ongoing.
“As a result of the extensive work carried out by a dedicated team, we have recovered the remains of two people from the address.
“Although formal identification is yet to take place, Essex Police believe these to be the remains of John McCullough and Lois McCullough, both aged in their 70s.”
In a statement issued through Essex Police, the family of John McCullough and Lois McCullough said: “We are deeply shocked by their deaths and ask for privacy at this difficult time.”
The family is being supported by specialist officers, said the force.
Neighbours told The Telegraph that the family “kept themselves to themselves”.
One neighbour said the husband and wife were “very aloof”.
“If I said hello, the man would have his head down,” said the neighbour.
“He wasn’t really very responsive, he always had his head down and would cross the road as though he was in a hurry.
“As a family, they kept themselves mainly to themselves. If you bumped into them in the street, they’d acknowledge you and say hello. The father was probably a bit more distant than the mother.
“They were pretty self-contained.”
A local greengrocer said: “We’re all deeply shocked.”