A hoarder in Houston was apparently found dead buried beneath four feet of debris inside his townhome on Friday. The man was discovered after residents became alarmed over a “foul odor.”
The Daily Mail reported that the body of a decomposed man in his 70s was discovered in a Houston townhome on Friday. Residents became concerned after they had not seen the man in months. Houston fire officials and police responded after neighbors said that the odor had become too foul to ignore.
The authorities said that the condition of the home was so poor that they had to get assistance from Texas EquuSearch on Friday in order to locate the man’s body. Responders showed up to the home fully equipped with gloves, masks, and Hazmat suits. They apparently located rats and piles of debris that made it difficult to traverse the home.
Tim Miller, founder of Texas EquuSearch, said “[y]ou think you’ve seen everything, and then you realize you haven’t.”
Neil Zimmerman, a neighbor, said “I don’t understand how anyone could live in those conditions.” Zimmerman is apparently a board member of the homeowner’s association at the Shadow Pines Townhomes.
KTRK-TV reported that residents in the area were aware of the man’s hoarding issue. They said they attempted to help the man with the situation until the state agency noted that they intended to exterminate what he said were his pet rats.
Luis Miranda, another HOA board member, said “[w]hen I knocked, as soon as I opened the screen, I could smell the foul odor.”
Board members noted that the HOA will likely be responsible for footing the bill to clear out the townhome. They stated that they wish they could have helped the man sooner, according to a report.
“It is super sad. Nobody is here to claim him or check up on him,” Miranda said. “I feel like we did what we could, but we just had nowhere else to go. We tried the city. We just couldn’t get help for him.”
Experts have stated that the prevalence of hoarding has increased since the pandemic, and they have suggested it could be due to grief, anxiety, and the ease of one-click shopping.
Dr. David Nathan, a psychologist at Allina Health in Minneapolis, said: “As the pandemic was a very difficult experience for all involved, we saw increased rates of all stress reactions, and that includes increases in hoarding behaviors.”
The body was removed by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. The cause of death is still unknown and will be determined by a medical examiner.
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