DAYTON, Ohio – On Sunday, a 12-year-old boy was exploring what was assumed to be an abandoned house in Dayton and discovered that it was not quite as abandoned as expected.
Hanging from a belt inside a closet, the boy found the mummified body of 53-year-old Edward Brunton.
“When he first came across it, he thought it was a dummy, or a mannequin or something,” Michelle McGrath, the boy’s mother, said.
“My son came home and said that he had gone into an abandoned house and he found a body,” she recalled, adding that she believes her son may be scarred for life from the experience.
McGrath noted that she went into the house herself to investigate. Nothing seemed unusual – until, that is, she entered the room with the closet.
“When I crossed the threshold of the room, is when I smelled it,” McGrath said. Following the discovery, she immediately called the police.
According to authorities, the corpse had been in the closet for five years.
Brunton’s estranged brother confirmed the identity of the body.
The closet had reportedly protected Brunton’s body from decomposition, as well as from animals and insects.
“Because of the location where he was found, it was relatively protected, sunlight protected, temperature protected and low humidity,” coroner Kent Harshbarger explained.
Brunton bought the house in 2009, and reports indicated that he died shortly after that, although nobody in the community was aware of the apparent suicide.
The home took on signs of abandonment: it was overtaken by overgrowth, and nobody ever saw people entering or leaving the home.
The body was hanging by a belt around its neck. The coroner’s office believes the cause of death is suicide by hanging, although police are still investigating.