MEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - Family members are demanding answers after the death of a woman whose body was found inside a recycling bin in Medford last year was ruled accidental. 

The medical examiner said Barbara Novaes died of positional asphyxia, which occurs when someone’s position prevents them from breathing adequately. 

Novaes family issued a statement Monday, thanking the Massachusetts State Police and the Medford Police Department “for the diligence displayed during their investigation.” 

The family, though, said “we are unable to accept the determination that it was accidental.”

“Too many suspicious circumstances, coincidences, and unanswered questions remain,” the family said. “Despite the tireless investigation, those who knew and loved Barb, can not accept her death as an accident.”

Police were called to Novaes’ Emery Street home in late May after her son reported her missing. When he got home, he told police the door was open. He said Novaes’ keys and purse were inside and her car was in the driveway. When police got there, officers found Novaes dead in a recycling bin under the porch.

Officials say there were no obvious signs of trauma. But at the time, they were investigating Novaes’ death as suspicious. 

7NEWS obtained court documents showing Novaes had applied for a restraining order against her husband, indicating she was moving forward with a divorce. 

Novaes and her husband were no shows for a scheduled hearing just three days before Novaes was found dead, though. So, the restraining order was never issued.

Months later, Novaes’ family is questioning the medical examiner’s ruling that Novaes’ death was an accident.

“Barb was a community advocate, a joyful neighbor, a professional co-worker, and a tender, loving daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and mother. Unfortunately, the time, place, and circumstances surrounding our Barbara’s death leave us with no closure,” the family continued.

Novaes’ family said police have agreed to reopen the case in the future if there is new information to look into.

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