A 12-year-old boy was doing what many a pre-teen boy has done – gone exploring. And what cooler place to check out than an old ramshackle house surrounded by overgrown underbrush? This young adventurer may think twice however before entering another spooky house after he stumbled on a scene right out of a Stephen King novel.
Hanging inside the home and completely mummified over was a corpse racked up by its neck on a noose in an open closet.
Until the boy made his way inside the ramshackle house in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday, neighbors didn't think anyone lived there, said spokesman Ken Betz from the Montgomery County Coroner's office. They thought the house was abandoned, and it looked that way.
The 12-year-old had found the body that was later identified as 53-year-old Edward Brunton, who evidently hung himself in a closet over five years ago. It appears no one knew of the suicide, no one came to check on him, and other than citations papered on the door for Brunton’s grossly overgrown yard and unpaid taxes, no visitors approached the home.
“My son came home and said he said to me that he had gone into an abandoned house and he found a body. And I said, ‘Wait what?’” said a stunned Michelle McGrath. “When he first came across it, he thought it was a dummy, or a mannequin or something.”
Coroner Kent Harshbarger was impressed at how well the body was preserved.
“It is very unique to find mummified remains like this, 5-years-old,” Harshbarger said. “He was found suspended from the neck still from a belt in the closet. So it appears to be a suicide.”
Neighbor Alberta Ballard, much like others in the immediate area, were astonished to learn that Brunton had lived in the home for the past 40 years, at least according to the home's records.
“I didn’t realize there was anybody in the house,” said neighbor Alberta Ballard. “There was no activity. No one coming and going. It looks just like it does now. Yes, I was shocked.”
McGrath remembers talking to her neighbors once about the horrid stench coming from the home.
“One of them said to me. I smelled something one day, but I thought something crawled and died underneath the shed,” said McGrath, adding that it’s sad that one’s death can be so anonymous. “I think it’s disturbing that the neighbors didn’t smell it, they didn’t call, that people aren’t more involved in their neighborhood.”