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A Woman's Husband Vanished for Months Until She Looked in the Closet

The lack of closure, the pain, and the loss a family feels when a loved one disappears must be unimaginable. For one woman, Jennifer Maedge, in Troy, Illinois, her husband, Richard, vanished without a trace on April 27, 2022. On the day he disappeared, he had told his wife he intended to leave work early. When Jennifer arrived home, she found his possessions, like a wallet and keys, inside the house, along with his car. And yet, Richard was gone. 

Police were summoned to the house, but no evidence of Richard was found or where he might be. There was a foul odor, like a septic system detected outside, but authorities thought nothing of it. Ashe Schow of The Daily Wire had the story first. Before you wonder why police couldn’t find any discernable shred of evidence about Richard’s whereabouts, the home was described by law enforcement as a “hoarder” residence. 

For months, Jennifer had no clue where Richard went until she went into the closet looking for some Christmas decorations. There was Richard, mummified from composition (via Daily Wire):

Sometime later, Jennifer again called the police, this time to report a foul smell at her residence. Police again searched the home but didn’t find Richard, and said the odor was the same as the one they noticed the first time they searched. 

Jennifer then contacted a plumber, who reportedly described the foul smell as sewer gas and put a cap on one of the sewer pipes in the home’s basement. The smell apparently went away after that. 

It wasn’t until December 11, 2022, nearly eight months after Jennifer reported Richard missing, that she found his body in a closet. Jennifer had gone into the closet looking for a tote that contained the family’s Christmas decorations. 

Rogers, the coroner, told Fox 2 that Richard’s body had advanced beyond decomposition and had become mummified. She told the outlet that at this stage, the body’s fluids had dried up and may not have a strong odor, which is why it took so long to find him. 

An autopsy released earlier this month revealed that Richard had taken his own life. His death was ruled a suicide and no signs of foul play were discovered, KMPH reported. 

Maybe Richard was sick of the hoarding? Who knows why people decide to take their own lives; that’s immaterial here. The fact that the hoarding prevented finding Richard’s body is something to wonder about because how bad was this house? We’ve all seen Hoarders of A&E, and there have been multiple stories of people with this mental disorder dying in their homes, suffocated by the sheer mass that’s fallen on them. This home was so bad that no one was able to check the closet.

That must’ve been a disastrous home.

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