Eight months after an Illinois man mysteriously disappeared, his wife shockingly discovered his dead body in their home’s closet while she was retrieving Christmas decorations, police say.
Richard Maedge had been reported missing on the afternoon of April 27, 2022, by his wife Jennifer, with authorities immediately launching into an investigation as to his whereabouts.
After police failed to turn up any leads as to where Richard was, Jennifer attempted to go on with life as normal; on December 11, she decided to liven up the house for Christmas and went to the closet where the holiday decorations were stored.
Astonishingly, she discovered that Richard had never left the house, as his decomposing body was inside the closet – decomposed to the point of mummification – along with the festive Christmas decorations.
The county coroner, in a report released Thursday, officially ruled Richard’s death a suicide after extensively examining the corpse.
“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,” Jennifer said. “He had committed suicide.”
Despite the strong and pungent odor emanating from the house for months on end – noticed by both Jennifer and even her neighbors – it was believed that the source was sewage, reports say.
The Maedge’s home was described by police as exhibiting “hoarding” conditions, with piles of items and belongings in every room making it difficult for authorities to conduct a proper search for Richard, explaining why he was initially not found during the initial investigation.
As for the odor of his rotting body, Jennifer noted that it never became “overwhelming,” so she never through much of it.