NORTHAMPTON, England (WESH)—Authorities say a 93-year-old British woman died Wednesday from broken heart syndrome after three men broke into her home and stole her valuables.
Three men broke into Betty Munroe’s Northampton, England, home around 11 p.m. June 11 using garden shears, according to a Facebook post from Northamptonshire Police.
The men confronted her, initially claiming to be officers, and then stole her jewelry, including her late husband’s watch, her purse, bank cards, even a gold chain that was around her neck.
They then ransacked Munroe’s home before they left, police said.
“Betty’s health deteriorated very quickly after the incident and she was diagnosed with PTSD following repeated nightmares, trouble sleeping, being sick and being unable to stop shaking,” police said in the Facebook post.
She was hospitalized with heart problems and eventually diagnosed with takotsubo syndrome, also known as broken heart syndrome, police said.
Munroe had been in good health before the three men broke into her home and had lived independently for 56 years.
Experts believe the syndrome may be caused by surging adrenaline that overwhelms the heart, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
The condition is usually reversible, but in rare cases, can be fatal.
“This is one of the saddest cases I have come across during my career and a stark reminder of how deeply a burglary can affect a victim,” said Detective Simon Barnes.
Authorities are still searching for the men who broke into her home.
“This case has deeply affected our detectives investigating it, who want to get justice for Betty,” police said.
Northampton is located about 70 miles northwest of London, England.