For 35 years, a former police headquarters in New Jersey was vacant and left to rot -- that is -- until a contractor found something disturbing.
Paterson Police used the building for many years until a fire gutted the property in 1980 and they had to move to a new location. The building had previously been destroyed by flames in the "Great Fire" of Feb. 9, 1902, which burned more than 450 buildings and 25 city blocks.
The property was owned by the Greenbaum family, which recently sold it to a developer.
On Sept. 12, a contractor working for the new owner discovered skeletal remains in one of the police station's holding cells.
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The remains are thought those of a homeless man who locked himself in a cell by mistake eight to 10 years ago.
Those at the scene determined the age of the corpse from a water bottle and over-the-counter medication next to it, according to Daily Mail. Susan Greenbaum, whose family is selling the building, believes the man could have been homeless and sought shelter in the old police station.
“It’s tragic and we are upset about it,” Greenbaum told WNBC. “My family was born and raised in this community, and we have a great respect for the community. It's sad that we have a homeless problem.”
Authorities have not confirmed the body is that of a homeless person and have only said a skeleton has been discovered.
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“The deceased has not been identified and information regarding his identity will not be released at this time,” Paterson Police Capt. Richard Reyes said in a statement.
Reyes added that detectives are asking for information from the public to help identify the body.