A coroner has explained why a wife didn’t notice that her husband – who’d been missing for eight months – was dead inside their home.
Jennifer Maedge reported her husband, Richard, 53, from Illinois, US, missing in April last year.
He had called to tell her that he’d left work early, but when she got home he was nowhere to be seen – despite his car still being in the driveway.
Eight months passed before she eventually found the father-of-three inside a wardrobe in their house.
Watch Jennifer Maedge discuss finding her missing husband in their house eight months later below…
Troy Police Department had searched the home twice and discovered nothing more than a ‘sewer-like’ odour, but assumed the smell was down to Jennifer and Richard – married for 19 years – living in a ‘hoarder home’.
And so the cops insisted that Maedge was indeed missing, and it was claimed that he had been ‘last seen leaving his residence wearing blue jeans and a blue T-shirt’.
The couple’s son, Austin, said he’d last seen his dad at work when they’d been to get a key for a storage unit.
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Like the police, Jennifer and Austin had also searched the property at least twice and even brought a plumber in to ‘fix the smell’.
But the mystery would only be solved around the Christmas holidays when Jennifer went to retrieve decorations from a wardrobe she rarely went in.
Upon opening the closet, she discovered Maedge’s ‘mummified’ body stuffed inside among piles of rubbish.
She told the St Louis Post-Dispatch: “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.
“He had committed suicide.”
This was confirmed by Troy Police Department, who said they suspected no foul play in Maedge’s death.
An autopsy report from coroner Steve Nonn of Madison County Coroner’s Office also backed this theory.
He said: “The area in the concealed room was only big enough for one person to occupy it.
“Upon opening the door to the concealed storage area, she would then find the decedent’s body and called 911.
“There were no other injuries found during the autopsy examination or evidence found that would indicate anything nefarious regarding Mr Maedge’s death.”
Despite suicide being certified as the cause of death, many are still perplexed as to how Jennifer had gone eight months without knowing her husband was dead in her residence.
However, the county’s chief deputy coroner, Kelly Rogers, has now cleared up the situation.
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She tells KTVI that an examination of Maedge’s body found that it was in an ‘advanced stage of decomposition’.
By the time Jennifer discovered him, his body was mummified, meaning his fluids and skin had dried and so the smell wouldn’t have been as strong.
The Maedge family continue to grieve Maedge’s death, with Jennifer telling Fox: “Even though we didn’t want the outcome that we had, it’s still an outcome that we can put him to rest.”
If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.
In the UK, the Samaritans is available 24/7 if you need to talk. You can contact them for free by calling 116 123, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or heading to the website to find your nearest branch.
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