DAYTON, Ohio – A child exploring a vacant home in an Ohio neighborhood makes a gruesome discovery.
The terrified boy stumbled across the homeowner’s mummified remains.
Michelle McGrath says her 12-year-old son is adventurous.
When he saw an overgrown house in Dayton, he ventured inside.
However, what he saw may have scarred him for life.
“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 Michelle McGrath.
Authorities say he discovered the mummified body of a man, believed to be 53-year-old Edward Brunton.
“When he first came across it, he thought it was a dummy, or a mannequin or something,” she added.
Brunton had been hanging in a closet for five years.
“It is very unique to find mummified remains like this, 5-years-old, ” said Kent Harshbarger, the Montgomery County coroner.
Officials say the man was hanging with a belt around his neck in the closet, so they believe it is a suicide.
Brunton bought the house in 2009 and the coroner says he died shortly after that.
Taxes have never been paid, the lawn was never cut and most of the neighbors had never even seen the man who purchased the property.
“I didn’t realize there was anybody in the house,” said Alberta Ballard.
Ballard has lived across the street for 40 years and was stunned by the discovery.
She says she complained to the city, which has mowed the lawn from time to time.
McGrath says it’s a sad commentary on the community that someone could be dead for so long without anyone ever noticing.
“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,” she said.
Officials say the victim does have a brother in the area but that he hasn’t seen him since 2008.
Even though the coroner’s office believes the case was a suicide, police are still investigating to make sure.