DAYTON, Ohio – In an empty, dusty house, a boy stumbled upon a classic horror movie scenario this week: A mummified corpse hanging by the neck from a belt.
And officials say it had been there for five years.
Until the boy made his way inside the ramshackle house in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday, neighbors didn’t think anyone lived there, said Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
They thought the house was abandoned, and it looked that way.
The front door was papered with citations for the overgrown yard, and no one came and went from the address. The home was unfurnished.
Inside, however, was the body of Edward Brunton, who hanged himself with a belt in a closet in 2009, according to Betz.
Betz puts Brunton in his late 40s at the time of his suicide.
The closet shielded his body from rapid decomposition, animals and insects, resulting in the mummy-like condition the boy found it in.
“Because of the location where he was found, it was relatively protected, sunlight-protected, temperature-protected and low humidity,” coroner Kent Harshbarger told CNN affiliate WDTN.
Brunton had little time to forge friendships with neighbors; he had purchased the home just months prior to his death. He also was estranged from his family and friends, thus no one ever reported him missing, Betz said.
The boy’s mother, Michelle McGrath, went into the house to investigate. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until she entered the room that housed the closet.
“When I crossed the threshold of the room, is when I smelled it,” she said.
She called the police.
Authorities found identification documents on Brunton’s body. His estranged brother, who still recognized him, confirmed it was him.