A boy exploring an apparently vacant house in Dayton, Ohio Sunday received a nasty shock when he saw what was inside the closet: the hardened, leathery body of a man whom officials say may have died nearly five years earlier.
Officials from the Montgomery County coroner's office identified the deceased as 53-year-old Edward Brunton and ruled his death a suicide by hanging. They said that Brunton's body was well-preserved because the closet protected it from sunlight and insects, as well as the effects of humidity.
Ken Betz, the director of the coroner's office, told The Associated Press that Brunton was homeless before he inherited money from his mother to buy the house in October 2009. Betz added that Brunton likely died soon after, though he could not fix a precise date.
WDTN reported that the house was engulfed by overgrown weeds. A notice from the city government dated May 11, 2013 was posted on the home's front door. It said that the homeowner was violating the law and needed to mow his lawn.
Neighbors told the station that they had not seen anyone in the home for at least three years and assumed it had been abandoned.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.