A Pennsylvania man got more than he bargained for when he bought a foreclosed home and stumbled upon a grotesque scene straight out of a nightmare.
Berks County contractor Mark Ponce thought he got a great deal after buying his home in a tax lien sale, WFMZ reports. Once he and a friend entered the home, they discovered the corpse of the former owner, 57-year-old Michael Meitzler.
"It was a skeleton with cob webs," Ponce told WFMZ.
"I peeked around the corner, and there he was," said Joe McGee, Ponce's friend who came with him to see the property. "We both ran out the front door and I threw up."
The Berks County coroner suspected Meitzler’s body had been rotting in the house for two and a half to three years. The coroner's office told WFMZ the cause of death appears to be natural, but they will not know for sure until the entire autopsy report comes back.
"I don't think a lot of people really had any contact with this guy," Ponce said. "Inside of his house, he had nothing. No pots and pans, no plates, a couple pieces of silverware."
If a homeowner fails to pay their property taxes, county officials auction off the house. The foreclosed homes sell to the highest bidder and are reportedly not examined beforehand.
Ponce said he believes the neighborhood most likely forgot about the former homeowner.
"It's sad that people forget about each other really," Ponce said. "Life goes on, everybody's so busy and we forget about each other."
"Nobody bothered to figure out what happened to this man for three years," McGee said. "It's like society failed him."
This is not the first time remains have been found in a foreclosed home. In 2014, William Wilson bought a three-bedroom residence in Cape Coral, Florida, for $95,300 at an auction, PEOPLE reported. Inside, he found the mummified body of the former owner lying on the floor of the master bedroom.