A 12-year-old Ohio boy soon discovered that he wasn’t exactly alone while exploring an abandoned house in Dayton.
The boy found the mummified body of 53-year-old Edward Brunton hanging from a belt inside a closet.
“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.
When McGrath initially went to the house herself to investigate, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, that is, until she walked into 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.
Police say the corpse had been in the closet for five years. Brunton’s estranged brother still recognized Edward and verified the identity of the body.
Brunton was hanging by a belt around his neck and the coroner’s office believes the cause of death was suicide by hanging, the Huffington Post reported.
The closet had purportedly sheltered Brunton’s body from decay, 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,” explained coroner Kent Harshbarger.
Brunton bought the house in 2009 and died shortly after purchasing it. No one in the neighborhood, however, knew he had committed suicide. Residents believed the house was abandoned and that no one lived there, according to CNN.
The home’s condition had obvious signs of neglect: it was overtaken with weeds, there was a citation for overgrowth and no people were seen entering or leaving the house.
Brunton was estranged from his entire family and did not forge any relationships with his neighbors, which is why he was never reported missing.