Decomposed body removed from Hazel Park home

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Hazel Park —The partially mummified body of a 78-year-old man was found Friday in a trash-filled Hazel Park house, according to police.

Police tape is seen, Friday July 22, 2016, around a home located at 146 W. Milton in Hazel Park following a corpse being removed from the home. (Steve Perez/ The Detroit News)

Police say the man is believed to have been living with a 61-year-old woman who is residing at the home in the 140 block of West Milton, near John R. and Eight Mile.

It is not clear how he died, according to police.

On Friday, the woman was found to be “in dire need of medical attention” and she was taken to a hospital where she will also undergo a mental evaluation.

The gruesome discovery was prompted earlier this week when police were notified of the potentially hazardous situation at the home, according to officials. They determined that special equipment would be needed to handle the situation in the home because of the crowded conditions in the house.

Neighbor Becky Mills, who lives directly across the street said she was there Friday when the police brought the body out.

“He was stiff as a board.”

Officials wearing bright white HAZMAT suits placed the decomposing body on the front lawn and took several pictures before loading it into a nearby van, said Mills, 30.

Mills says police at the scene told her earlier in the week that inside the home officials found chest-high garbage piles.

“Then I woke up this morning and they had Elite Trauma Clean-Up, a couple code enforcement cars, a couple police cars,” Mills said Friday. “(The woman) had said there was a man in the house and claimed he was watching TV and didn’t want to be disturbed.

“Turns out he was decomposing.”

Police did not confirm these details.

City code enforcement officers visited the home in the 140 block of Milton in Hazel Park earlier this week. They returned Friday and removed a body.

The small, one-story home sits back from the road, with an overgrown front yard enclosed by a chain-link fence topped by miniature American flags fluttering in the wind. Police tape was draped over the fence Friday afternoon.

In the yard, several blue plastic bags held untouched newspapers, while stuffed animals, a table and lawn chairs were scattered among other trash. One chair appeared to have a brush growing through its woven seat.

The windows and doors were boarded up Friday and a bright yellow notice was posted near the door.

The woman who lived in the home was “very energetic” and appeared healthy until the past few weeks, when she became more reclusive, said Mills.

“We took her to the store a few times and she talked about the man that lived with her,” Mills said.

Mills never met the man found dead Friday, despite frequently interacting with the woman as recently as three weeks ago.

“She knew the date, she wasn’t (mentally) gone in that sense,” Mills said of their most recent interaction.

“I’ve never seen (the man) and I’ve lived here a year. Some of the neighbors said they last saw him around Thanksgiving.”

Officials have not commented on whether the death is deemed suspicious. An autopsy is pending with the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s office.

Twitter: @hollypfournier