His wife found him when she went looking for Christmas decorations
A woman found the mummified corpse of her husband – eight months after she reported him missing – in a closet at their home, but only because she was looking for Christmas decorations.
Richard Maedge, 53, was reported missing on 27 April 2022 and police searched the home he shared with his wife, Jennifer, in Troy, Illinois, at least twice to try and find him.
Officers reported smelling a “sewer-like” smell inside the “hoarder home” but failed to locate the 53-year-old.
Then, eight months later, on 11 December, Jennifer stumbled upon his body, while she was rummaging for Christmas decorations.
Richard was in a rarely-visited, concealed storage area, inside a bedroom closet. He had taken his own life, coroners later concluded.
A report released last week said Richard’s body had passed the stage of decomposition and become mummified.
The police coroner told KTVI mummified bodies don’t give off odours, which may have contributed to the fact he remained missing for so long.
Jennifer told Troy police that her husband disappeared after he called her to say he was leaving early for work.
When she got home, Jennifer found his car parked out front. His keys and wallet in the house. But he was nowhere to be seen.
Police searched the house for the father of three and reported a foul smell, but concluded he was not there.
When the odour remained, Jennifer called them back, but police still failed to find Richard.
According to KTVI, a plumber was then contacted and after visiting the property, he thought it smelled like sewer gas. A sewer pipe was capped and Jennifer reported that the smell subsided.
Then, she found Richard.
Jennifer told the Belleville News-Democrat: “I decided to put the Christmas tree up, and I was looking for a tote of Christmas ornaments, and that’s when I discovered him.”
Richard’s sister, Marilyn Toliver, has criticised the local police, saying they could have done more to find her brother. Jennifer thanked them and added to Fox 2 that she thought her husband’s “presence” was close to her while he was missing.