JANESVILLE, Wis. – This real estate agent will likely do a house check before letting her prospective customers tour on their own from now on — after a couple happened upon a homeowner in bed — dead.
Linda Chabucos-Galow, a real estate agent with Shorewest, stood in the dining room while Justin and Colleen McKeen walked through a house Monday night.
Before long, she heard Colleen scream as the couple stood at the doorway.
"I thought, 'What's wrong?' Maybe it was a dead mouse or something," Chabucos-Galow said.
But then she peered into the bedroom and saw the body of Linda L. O'Leary, 55, the owner of the home. She had been dead for about two weeks, officials say.
"It looked like a Halloween prop," Chabucos-Galow said.
The uncovered body was wearing dark shorts. Chabucos-Galow said her legs were wrapped in material that appeared similar to cheesecloth or support hose.
"If we spent five minutes in there, I'd be stretching it," Chabucos-Galow said.
She said she then told the couple: "'We need to leave. This is not right. We need to get out of here."'
Gale Kent, the Coldwell Banker First United Realty agent who listed the house, said the property was for sale "for a while," but wouldn't say how many times it had been shown in recent weeks.
"I don't want to say anything because I haven't talked to the police yet," Kent said.
Rock County Coroner Jenifer Keach said she pronounced O'Leary dead at 11 p.m. Monday.
Police Capt. Dan Davis said an overnight log listed the incident as a sudden death, which indicates to him there was no foul play.
But he would not comment further on whether the death was suspicious. An autopsy had not been scheduled, he said.
Chabucos-Galow said she set up the showing without knowing the homeowner's identity.
After entering the home, she noticed a faint odor but thought it was from the mess in the house or the countertop full of dishes. She saw unopened mail.
"I've smelled death. I know what death smells like," she said. "I can't believe my sinuses were that bad."