An Illinois woman found her husband’s mummified corpse buried in a closet at their home — eight months after she reported him missing.
Richard Maedge, 53, was first reported missing on April 27, 2022, and police searched the home he shared with his wife, Jennifer, in Troy at least twice to find him.
Both times, officers reported smelling a “sewer-like” odor in the house, which they described as a “hamster house.”
It wasn’t until December 11, eight months after Richard’s disappearance, that Jennifer came across his body while searching for Christmas decorations, hanging in a rarely visited, hidden storage area in a closet in the bedroom.
Coroners released a report on Thursday saying that Richard had committed suicide and that his body had passed the stage of decomposition and was mummified by the time he was discovered.
That’s what the coroner of the police said KTVI mummified bodies don’t give off odors, which may be why Richard went undiscovered for so long.
Jennifer and Richard Maedge. Richard committed suicide in a closet in April and Jennifer found him in December
The house where Richard Maedge was found in December after going missing in April
Jennifer told Troy police that Richard disappeared on April 27, 2022, after calling her to say he would retire early.
When she got home, she found Richard’s car parked outside and his keys and wallet inside the house, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Police began searching for the father of three, initially through the overcrowded house.
They reported the foul smell inside, but decided Richard wasn’t there.
Some time later, Jennifer called the police to report that the smell persisted, and the police returned to search the house a second time, but found nothing.
Eventually, Jennifer contacted a plumber about the smell, who visited the house and said it smelled like sewer gas, according to KTVI.
The plumber plugged one of the sewer pipes at the house, and Jennifer reported that the smell had subsided.
A missing poster for Richard Maedge. He was reported missing in April 2022
Richard was the father of three children. Police said he committed suicide in a closet in his home in Troy, Illinois
Jennifer Maedge thanked the police for their efforts to locate her husband, who was in her closet
Jennifer finally discovered Richard on December 11 and told police she found his body while looking for a bag full of Christmas decorations.
The police said that the cupboard in which Richard was eventually found was in a hidden place in the house.
“I decided to put up the Christmas tree, and I was looking for a bag of Christmas decorations, and then I discovered it,” Jennifer told the Belleville News-Democrat.
Richard’s sister, Marilyn Toliver, spoke out to police, saying they could have done more to find him.
In response, the Troy Police Department released an extensive list of the measures they took to find Richard, including extensive searches of the property’s vicinity.
However, Jennifer thanked the police for their work.
“Even if we didn’t want the outcome that we had, it’s still an outcome that we can put him to rest,” she told Fox 2.
She added that she felt her husband’s “presence” was close to her while he was missing.
Police said they do not suspect foul play in Richard’s death.
“No other injuries were found during the autopsy examination or no evidence was found suggesting anything malignant in connection with Mr Maedge’s death,” the coroner said.