A woman's decomposing body has been found wedged inside the chimney of her lover's home after she tried to sneak into his house.
Dr Jacquelyn Kotarac, 49, scaled a ladder to the roof, removed the chimney cap and slid down the flue of the property in Bakersfield, California.
The woman, who had an "on-again, off again" relationship with the man, had gone to the house on Wednesday last week, police said.
But the man refused to let her in and escaped unnoticed from the house "to avoid a confrontation", police added.
Dr Kotarac is believed to have been stuck in the chimney for three days.
Her body was discovered by a house-sitter who noticed "an odour and fluids" coming from the fireplace, police said.
The house-sitter and her son found the woman's body wedged about two feet above the top of the interior fireplace opening.
Firefighters spent five hours dismantling the chimney and flue from the outside of the property to extract the body.
The man's identity has been revealed in media reports as William Moodie, 58, the owner of a petroleum engineering company.
"She made an unbelievable error in judgement and nobody understands why, and unfortunately she's passed away," Mr Moodie told the Associated Press.
"She had her issues, she had her demons, but I never lost my respect for her."
He would not comment on the circumstances that led to her death but described her as a "superb internist who often provided service and medication free of charge to her patients".
Dr Kotarac ran a medical practice seeing as many as 200 patients a week, reports said.
Her office staff reported her missing when she failed to turn up to work.
Bakersfield coroner's office said Dr Kotarac died of asphyxiation and concluded the death was an accident.
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