Marty's Blog

Long Beach Mortician Shares Funny Funeral Industry Stories In New Book

Long Beach mortician shares funny funeral industry stories in new book

By Brianna Sacks
LA Times
AUG 19TH 2014

Original Article:

When it comes to death, mortician Ken McKenzie says people are far too serious. 

After creating a "Men of Mortuaries" calendar featuring buff, shirtless morticians wielding shovels in 2007 and releasing "Mortuary Confidential" in 2010, the Long Beach mortuary owner has a new book out. "Over Our Dead Bodies: Undertakers Lift The Lid" a collection of his own stories, as well as experiences from funeral directors across the country. 

"It's like life, there's a heavy side and the next chapter will make you laugh your ass off," he said of the book, published in May by Citadel Press. 

McKenzie, 48, said he found his calling after his father committed suicide when he was 12 years old. McKenzie remembers how the funeral director, Pauline Bergman, used humor to quell family tensions. 

"She was able to stop my grandmother and mother from arguing, and make me and 12 other kids laugh in 40 seconds," he chuckled. "I wanted to do that."

McKenzie started directing funerals in 1989 and then opened McKenzie Mortuary in 1994, one of the last privately owned funeral homes in the area. He specializes in themed memorial services designed to celebrate a person's life and what they loved. 

"I choose to step out of the box of what everyone else does and not tiptoe around [death]," said McKenzie. "My industry is very old, slow and doesn't do well with change." 

He held one memorial service for a cancer-stricken race-car driver at a car dealership. McKenzie called it "his last pit stop," complete with the driver's crew, race car and two workers waving red-checkered flags. 

Another commemorated an older woman who adored gambling. McKenzie and her family designed the ceremony as if she had just stepped away from a game. A blinking slot machine stood ready, a dealer sat at a craps table next to a smoking cigarette and an empty chair, slightly askew. 

"That's what death is," he said of the scene next to the casket. "It's just like you left for a moment." 

The book, which he co-wrote with Todd Harra, a funeral director based in Delaware, contains 18 stories showing a different side of death and the funeral industry. Like when a squirrel made its way into an open casket before a Northern California funeral.

In his 25 years in the business, McKenzie said more people are loosening strict, religiously affiliated traditions when planning burials. 

He credits the lighter outlook to a longer lifespan, which is pushing people to be more open and comfortable talking about death. Americans are living longer than ever before, to almost 80 years old, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

An April study from the University of Michigan and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System showed that more elderly Americans are completing living wills, which experts attribute to an increasingly relaxed attitude toward death.

McKenzie taps into his own mourning experience when helping customers. He recalls his family's first Thanksgiving after his father passed--the empty chair and heavy, painful silence that amplified his father's absence as his family attempted to avoid discussing him. 

"If you asked him to pass the bread, my father was the type of guy who would throw it at you," laughed McKenzie. So when he prodded the table to talk about his father as if he was there, they fully obliged.

"My grandfather threw a bread roll at me and I started laughing," he said.

And that's how the mortician chooses to run his funeral business: happily. 

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'Evil Eye' Box and Other Ancient Treasures Found in Nile River Cemetery

'Evil Eye' Box and Other Ancient Treasures Found in Nile River Cemetery

By: Owen Jarus
Live Science 
Aug. 13th 2014

Original Article:

A 2,000-year-old cemetery with several underground tombs has been discovered near the Nile River in Sudan.

Archaeologists excavated several of the underground tombs, finding artifacts such as a silver ring, engraved with an image of a god, and a faience box, decorated with large eyes, which a researcher believes protected against the evil eye.

Villagers discovered the cemetery accidently in 2002 while digging a ditch near the modern-day village of Dangeil, and archaeological excavations have been ongoing since then. The finds were reported recently in a new book.

The cemetery dates back to a time when a kingdom called Kush flourished in Sudan. Based in the ancient city of Meroe (just south of Dangeil) Kush controlled a vast territory; its northern border stretched to Roman-controlled Egypt. At times, it was ruled by a queen.

Although the Kushites built hundreds of pyramids, this particular cemetery contains no structures on the surface; the tombs are underground.

"As of now, we don't know exactly the size of the cemetery," Mahmoud Suliman Bashir, an archaeologist with Sudan's National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM), said in an interview with Live Science.

NCAM has been working with the British Museum to excavate the cemetery, and the two organizations recently published an online book, called "Excavations in the Meroitic Cemetery of Dangeil, Sudan" (Berber-Abidiya Archaeological Project, 2014), describing their findings.

"The funerary tradition of the Kushites demonstrates a widespread belief in life after death. This is why goods and foods usually accompanied the corpse," Bashir and Julie Anderson, an assistant keeper at the British Museum, wrote in their book. "These items were needed to sustain and provide for the individual in the afterlife."

Treasures for the afterlife

The team has discovered a wide range of goods meant to aid the deceased in the afterlife, including several large jars that originally contained beer made of sorghum.

In one tomb, they found a silver ring with an image of a horned deity. The ring was conserved and cleaned at the British Museum, and its scholars believe the ring depicts the god Amun, who, in the kingdom of Kush, was often shown with a head that looks like a ram. A temple to Amun dating to the same time period as the cemetery is located in Dangeil.

Ancient officials used rings like this to create seal impressions in pottery, Bashir said, adding that examples made of silver are rare.

The tombs in the cemetery yielded other treasures, including a faience box, decorated with what the ancient Kushites and Egyptians called "udjat" eyes — "a well-known tradition in Egypt," Bashir said, noting that the Kushites also made use of them. "It had a kind of ritual role to [protect] from the evil eye," Bashir said.

In the cemetery archaeologists also found an interesting "party tray," which consists of seven bowls attached together; six of the bowls surround another bowl in the middle. "It's very unique, and we don't have any kind of similar object found anywhere else," Bashir said. "It can be used for food. You can put seven different items in one place."

An archer's burial

One tomb yielded arrowheads and the remains of a man wearing a stone ring (also called an archer's loose) on his thumb. "Thumb rings are well-known objects associated with archery, being used to draw back the bowstring," Bashir and Anderson wrote in their book.

In Kush, archery played an important role in society, with its kings and queens depicted wearing stone rings on their thumbs, Bashir and Anderson wrote. The Kushite god Apedemak, the lion-headed "god of war," was also depicted as an archer, Bashir said.

Dangeil is located south of the fifth cataract of the Nile River. Excavations at the cemetery are being carried out by the Berber-Abidiya Archaeological Project, a collaboration between NCAM and the British Museum.

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Pennsylvania Museum Finds 6,500-year-old Skeleton In Its Cellar

Pennsylvania museum says finds 6,500-year-old skeleton in its cellar

By Daniel Kelley

Aug. 6th 2014

Original Article:

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Philadelphia archaeology museum said on Tuesday its researchers have discovered an extremely rare 6,500-year-old human skeleton in its own basement, where it had been in storage for 85 years.

The Penn Museum, affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, said it had lost track of all documentation for the skeleton which dates to roughly 4500 BC.

But the paperwork turned up this summer, as part of a project to digitize old records from a 1922-1934 joint expedition by the British Museum and the Penn Museum to modern-day Iraq.

Researchers were able to determine that the skeleton was unearthed around 1930 as part of an excavation into the Royal Cemetery of Ur led by Sir Leonard Woolley.

Woolley's records indicated that he had shipped a skeleton over, and the team digitizing his records had uncovered pictures of the excavation, which showed the skeleton being removed from its grave. A researcher on the digitization project, William Hafford, mentioned the records to Janet Monge, the museum' chief curator.

Woolley's team uncovered the remains 40 feet (12 meters) below the ground, beneath the remains from the cemetery itself, which dates to 2500 BC. The body was found in a deep layer of silt that archaeologists believe was left over from a massive flood.

The remains indicate they are those of a well-muscled man who died at 50 and would have stood approximately 5-feet, 10-inches (1.78 meters) tall. The museum has named him Noah.

The museum said the discovery has important implications for current research. Scientific techniques that were not available at the time of the expedition could give scholars new insights into diet, ancestral origins, trauma, stress and disease from the time period, which the museum says is poorly understood.  

Intact skeletons from this era are rare. While the museum has other remains from ancient Ur, about 10 miles (16 km) from Nassiriya in southern Iraq, "Noah" is about 2,000 years older than any remains uncovered during the excavation at the site, it said.

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Cursed Mansion Looking for Latest Ill-fated Owners to Inflict Misery Upon

Are some places truely cursed or does the misfortune upon misfortune of their owners simply acrue over long periods of time naturally and then come to the attention of the public to be overly remarked upon? Todays article is one history of a place that would seem to carry such a curse, or not . see what you think.

"Cursed " mansion once owned by Leona Helmsley is listed at $65 million

by Jennifer Karmon
Yahoo Homes 

Will the Dunnellen curse strike again?   Has it already?

Dunnellen Hall, at 521 Round Hill Road in Greenwich, is "among the most famous of the back country's 13 [great] estates," the New York Times has said. It's the "ultimate" location on "the most famous street" in the "best town in Connecticut," or so the marketing materials would have it. Bombshell Lana Turner once lived there; so did figure skater Sonja Henie.

It's also notorious for the misfortunes that have befallen its onetime occupants over more than half a century.

"It devours the people who buy it," one local told a Connecticut gossip columnist.

Mystery owners and a 'change of plans'

The current owners -- undisclosed -- bought Dunnellen Hall in 2010 from the estate of Leona Helmsley, the late hotelier and ex-con who seems destined to be known for all eternity as the "Queen of Mean." They must have been hoping to snap a tradition of misfortune that has been likened to another infamous curse, as recounted in the New York Times decades ago:

"When Louis Duff handled the sale of Dunnellen Hall in 1974, he had a conversation with the seller, Lynda Dick, whose 46-year-old husband had died of a heart attack while being driven home by his chauffeur.

"Mr. Duff, president of Duff Associates Inc., recalled that Mrs. Dick said: '"This house is like the Hope Diamond. It has brought bad luck to everyone who owned it."'

"At the time, Mr. Duff disagreed. But as he talked now about the troubles of the estate's other owners, he said, 'I wouldn't argue the point with her today.'"

Perhaps the current owners considered it a stroke of good luck when they managed to acquire the estate for less than half the asking price -- after it had suffered the ignominy of perhaps "the biggest cut ever on a U.S. house," according to the Wall Street Journal.


But they kept it for less than a year before relisting it. They'd had "a change of plans," listing agent Jane Howard Basham told the Wall Street Journal rather cryptically in a recent article.

It did not sell.

So they took the estate off the market to launch a three-year renovation that involved making the home smaller by "removing some wings of the house," Basham, of David Ogilvy & Associates (an affiliate of Christie's International Real Estate), told the Journal.

One of the elements that's gone, Yahoo Homes has learned: the infamous million-dollar marble dance floor that Leona Helmsley had installed over the pool. The dance floor -- and the home itself -- figured prominently in her 1988 trial, as one of the extravagant items she and her husband, Harry, were accused of fraudulently claiming as business expenses of their real estate and hotel empires. At age 80, he was found mentally unfit for trial, but she was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to prison. She served about a year and a half.

The downsized Dunnellen Hall is now about 17,000 square feet, on the market for $65 million. It's considerably simplified and streamlined -- more graceful and tasteful, some would say. (Click here or on a photo for a slideshow of the home, with details about its surviving and new elements.)

"It is essentially an entirely new house, yet with the character of a bygone era,” David Ogilvy said.

The beginning of Dunnellen Hall

That bygone area began in 1918, when Daniel G. Reid spent $1 million to build the estate as a wedding gift for his daughter, Rhea, and her groom, Henry J. Topping.


Nowadays, people call Reid a "banking and steel magnate," but his contemporaries called him "tin plate king." He was a self-made man who by the age of 11 had left school to be a messenger at his hometown Indiana bank, working his way up to vice president, according to his 1925 New York Times obituary.

He saved up to buy a small Indiana tin plate mill -- and in just three years had merged every tin plate company in the country into the American Tin Plate Company, making a fortune. He organized steel companies to ensure tin plate supplies, then eventually traded tin plate holdings for steel stock.

He took control of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad in 1901.

In 1915 he resigned after being "charged with watering the stock of the road and looting it of millions," the obituary said. Congress investigated him, and the railroad faced bankruptcy.

In the stock market, he was "known as one of the 'big insiders,' and was credited with manipulating the market in huge stock movements."

Although Reid's obituary said he "died in possession of a fortune estimated at from $40,000,000 to $50,000,000," the Times reported on its front page in 1927 that in fact he left behind just $4,668,679.

He had almost a quarter-million dollars in debts, the Times said -- not including a $25,000 claim against the estate by James Savage, his attendant. Savage said that the job was dangerous "because Mr. Reid occasionally shot at him," and that the only reason Savage didn't quit was Reid's promise to bequeath him $25,000.

The Reid/Topping wild streak

Reid was married three times: to childhood sweetheart Ella Dunn, namesake of Dunnellen, who died at age 35 after 19 years of marriage; then to an actress who died four years later; then to a comedian who divorced him.

Numerous tales of "'wild parties' and other events" attached to his name as his wealth accumulated.

His family's residency at Dunnellen lasted until the middle of the century. And like Daniel Reid, his grandsons were known for a wild streak. A 1968 Times story about Greenwich described Rhea Reid Topping as "the tinplate heiress and the mother of the sportsmen-playboys" and said the home "was the scene of many extravagant parties." A newcomers guide to Greenwich claims that the boys would ride motorcycles "up and down the grand staircase."

One of those playboy sons, Bob, was married five times -- including a yearlong union to brother Dan's ex-wife Arline Judge, a B-movie actress (and mother of Dan's son Dan Jr.). He was also married to actress-bombshell Lana Turner, one of his three four-year marriages to end in divorce. (Turner was one of many Topping relatives to live at Dunnellen. A few years after she moved out, her daughter stabbed to death Turner's abusive lover, Johnny Stompanato.)

Bob's final marriage, to a ski instructor, stuck until his death at age 54.

Bob's brother Dan was married six times, once to figure skater Sonja Henie. Dan died at age 61, a couple of years before his son Robert was stabbed to death in Miami.

House leaves the family

In 1950, after Rhea Topping died, Dunnellen was sold for the first time: to Loring Washburn, the president of a company that made steel window frames, and his wife, insurance heiress Mary Buckner Royall.

Those were happy days for a time, the newcomers guide says: She loved to entertain lavishly, with her party favors coming from Cartier jewelers.

If so, then perhaps it's not surprising that money problems plagued Washburn "almost immediately," as the 2004 book "Cursed in New England" relates.

Eventually, in 1963, a finance company seized the house. It sat vacant for several years, and locals started saying it was haunted, the book claims.

Then in 1966, the land was purchased and subdivided, and in 1967 Gregg Sherwood Dodge Moran bought it. The former model-actress had been married to automobile heir Horace Dodge and "spent Dodge’s multimillion dollar fortune freely until, in 1961, he filed for divorce, telling friends, 'I can’t afford that woman anymore,'" the Palm Beach (Fla.) Daily News wrote in her obituary. (Horace Dodge died before the divorce went through -- and "although he had excluded her in his will and essentially died penniless, she successfully sued his mother for millions," the Daily News said.)

She moved in with her young new husband, a Bronx policeman and bodyguard (reportedly once to Nikita Khrushchev). They didn't stay long, selling the place for $1.3 million in 1968 to cattleman Jack R. Dick.

The sale was a record-breaking amount, and one of the few bits of good luck for the Morans. Every business venture thereafter was a failure, according to acquaintances quoted in contemporary news accounts. They were arrested in June 1978 on charges of grand larceny, and in July 1978 were declared bankrupt. He fatally shot himself that year. She pleaded guilty to stealing from her son's trust fund.

'It was not a peaceful retreat'

Meanwhile, Dunnellen Hall had passed on to Dick, a "gentleman farmer" who made his fortune in cattle and intended to retire to the Greenwich mansion, which he'd made into a virtual museum for his collection of sporting paintings.

"It was not a peaceful retreat," wrote Ray Kennedy in a 1974 Sports Illustrated profile of Dick. The company that bought his went bankrupt in 1971 and sued him. Then he was indicted on charges of falsifying financial and art documents. Forced to sell the beloved art collection, "he strolled the vaulted marble halls [of Dunnellen] like some latter-day Citizen Kane," SI wrote, "his eyes never lingering on the acres of blank walls that once held his paintings." He also listed Dunnellen for sale.

But before the art sales were complete, before Dunnellen sold, before his legal entanglements were resolved, Dick was dead at 46. On a January day in 1974, he'd complained of a headache and taken two Bufferin. Later, on the way home in his limo, he'd clutched his chest and gasped, "Oh, that hurts," SI wrote. He was whisked to Greenwich Hospital and pronounced dead minutes later.

It was then that his widow, who was in the limo with him, began comparing Dunnellen to the Hope Diamond and its curse.

The next owner was Ravi Tikkoo, an Indian oil-tanker magnate who reportedly paid the Dick estate $2 million for it (and $1 million for the furnishings) in 1974. Less than two years later, he'd listed it; his "fortune has since run aground," the New York Times said in a 1974 article on hard times in Greenwich. Offered at $2.75 million, it had attracted "no serious offers," and in 1980 he was still living there, throwing parties that even the posh attendees called Gatsby-esque.

Tikkoo was forced into bankruptcy in 1980-81 and sold to Harry Helmsley and his wife, Leona, in 1983. (He seems to have recovered nicely after the bankruptcy, however.)

The Helmsley era and beyond

The Helmsleys, the home's most notorious residents, paid $8 million for the house and $3 million for the furnishings. They quickly began pouring money into the property, ultimately spending another $8 million on renovations. A million went toward enclosing one of the two pools and installing their infamous pooltop dance floor. More than $100,000 bought an indoor/outdoor remote-controlled stereo system that was reportedly modeled on something Leona had seen at Disney World.

As the world now knows, the renovations -- billed fraudulently as business expenses -- caught up with them, culminating in a splashy trial in which Leona's own lawyer called her a "tough bitch." It closed out the "greed is good" 1980s with a verdict that some called poetic justice -- though neighbors weren't so sanguine, "whispering like Transylvanian peasants" that she was "just the latest victim" of the Dunnellen curse, as Connecticut's gossip columnist Richard Johnson colorfully wrote.

"It hasn't been a very happy house," Marjorie Rowe told the Times back then. She handled two sales of the estate (though, it should be said, she pooh-poohed the idea of a curse).

After Leona Helmsley was released from prison, she returned to her frail husband and cared for him until he died in 1997. He left her his billion-dollar fortune, which she lived on until her own death at Dunnellen Hall in 2007, at age 87.

That brings us to today, with the latest Dunnellen chapter written only faintly. Who bought the Helmsley estate, and what caused those owners' abrupt "change of plans" not even a year after they'd bought it?

And who will buy it next? Because curse or no, someone certainly will. As Duff told the Times back in 1988, "There is nothing else like it. There will always be somebody who will want that house."

The future owners might just want to bear in mind one last odd bit of Dunnellen history. Separate from its illustrious residents, the house took a star turn of its own in a 1968 movie starring Kirk Douglas.

It was called "A Lovely Way to Die."

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Authorities Identify Mummified Remains of Woman in Detroit Suburb

Today's blog article is about another long-forgotten person found mummified in their dwelling as America's plague of apathy and uncaring continues.  

Authorities Identify Mummified Remains of Woman in Detroit Suburb

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Eric Beech)

Original Article:

(Reuters) - A woman whose mummified remains were found in her garage in a Detroit suburb up to five years after her death has been identified through DNA tests, an official said on Friday.

Pia Farrenkopf had set up her bills to be paid automatically through a bank account, a neighbor cut her grass and her mail was sent to a nearby post office while her body sat for years in the back seat of a vehicle in her Pontiac, Michigan, garage.

Her body was finally found in March when someone was sent to check on the house, which had fallen into foreclosure after the account ran down and mortgage payments stopped.

Robert Gerds, administrator for the Oakland County medical examiner's office, said Farrenkopf's family was notified Tuesday of the positive identification and her body has been released.

A cause of death has not been determined, nor when she died, though investigators were able to confirm that she was seen alive as recently as early 2009, Gerds said.

"This has brought some closure for our family, knowing we may finally lay Pia to rest," a posting on a Facebook page dedicated to her by a niece said Tuesday.

Farrenkopf stopped working in 2008 and the last withdrawal from the account was in March 2013, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in March. He said her mail went to a post office, a neighbor cut her lawn, and she had no nearby family.

For a look into other long forgotten places don't forget to check out our photo galleries

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Grand Opening of The Morbid Anatomy Museum

Over the years i have blogged about several museums either wholly-dedicated to death/dying, the funeral industry or other macabre topics so it should not come as a surprise that i have found another such collection/museum. Actually there are more such odd/macabre places than most people would believe you just have to do a little digging around.

New NYC museum explores death, all things morbid

AP June 27th 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — A new museum opening in New York City this weekend promises a fascinating journey into the dark side.

The Morbid Anatomy Museum opens Saturday in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

The ribbon-cutting will include a "spirit photo booth" and traditional mourning food from a cookbook titled "Death Warmed Over."

But creative director Joanna Ebenstein tells The New York Times the museum's mission is serious. It grew out of Ebenstein's private collection of over 2,000 books on death rituals, the human body and esoterica.

The three-story museum is in a former nightclub. Highlights at the opening exhibition, "The Art of Mourning," include a brooch made from human teeth. There's also a 1850s shadowbox containing a Madonna surrounded by a memorial wreath made of locks of a deceased loved one.

Here is a great link with pics of the collection...

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Old Licking County jail to Host 'Ghost Adventures' Showing The Evening of July 12

Old Licking County Jail - Ghost Adventures ShowingCome on out and enjoy a unique night with me and the united Paranormal Project as the Ghost Adventures team reveals just what they found during thier investigation of the Old Licking County Jail.

Old Licking County jail to host 'Ghost Adventures' showing the evening of July 12

Newark Advocate
June 26th, 2014

NEWARK — The Licking County Preservation Society will host a free showing of the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures,” which will showcase the hauntings and history of the old Licking County Jail.

The free outdoor screening will start at 9 p.m. July 12 in the south parking lot of the jail, 46 S. Third St. Viewers should bring blankets or lawn chairs. If it rains, the showing will move to the Newark Main Library, 101 W. Main St., according to Pam Jones, deputy clerk for the Licking County commissioners.

The preservation society will conduct jail tours from 5 to 8 p.m. that night for $10 for adults. Children younger than age 12 will get in free. Representatives from the United Paranormal Project will host a question-and-answer session at 8 p.m.

Money collected from the event will go toward preserving and restoring the jail, Jones said.

Footage for the show was taped at the jail during May. It will air at 9 p.m. July 12 on the Travel Channel, Jones said.

Afterwords, the United Paranormal Project will have a public ghost hunt of the old jail from 10:30 to 4:00 AM  all the details and tickets available at

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Mummified Man in Manhole Electrocuted Around Two Years Ago

Today in the blog an unusual story about the mummified remains of a copper thief found years after frying himself in a manhole. Personally I have to wonder why it took them so long to find him/the problem/cut wires?

The Mummified body of a man found in manhole was likely electrocuted

TUCSON, Arizona. (AP) 6/25/2014

An autopsy shows that a man whose mummified remains were found in a Tucson, Arizona, manhole likely died of electrocution.

Tuesday's report from the Pima County medical examiner's office says the dead man was holding a pair of bolt cutters in an underground high-voltage utility vault, and there were cut copper wires near his remains.

The medical examiner says the man died between one and two years before his remains were found May 19.

Tucson Electric Power crews found the body when they opened the manhole to investigate a power fluctuation. The manhole was last opened in 2009.

An identification card for a 51-year-old man was found with the remains, but the medical examiner's office is awaiting DNA test results to verify the dead man's identity.

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Mummified Corpse Found Hanging in Closet of Abandoned Ohio Home

Here we have a sad case of being forgotten about entirely. Its sad how little neighbors friends and family can mean in todays unraveling society. People become over looked, neglected and forgotten as in this case. If you are a fan of Lost and Found Ohio and have looked thru our galleries you know In the past I have done what this boy was doing many times, exploring old abandoned places that have been forgotten about. I have seen/found many odd and unusual things left abandoned and forgotten but this tops them all. I feel bad for this man who had no one and I feel bad for the kid who found him. Hopefully the man will get a decent burial at this point and a headstone/grave to rest in. Maybe someone will actually stop by, I know he will be in my thoughts and I may look him up one day during my cemetery photography trips.

Mummified corpse found hanging in abandoned Ohio home

By Laila Kearney

A curious Ohio boy who sneaked into an abandoned house over the weekend discovered a mummified corpse hanging inside a closet, unnoticed for nearly five years, officials said on Tuesday.

The body of Edward Brunton, 53, had a belt around his neck, and he likely died by suicide in his rundown home in the city of Dayton, said Ken Betz, director for the coroner's office in Montgomery County in southwestern Ohio.

"I've been around a long time, but this is the first time we've had (a mummified body) indoors for that many years," Betz said.

Authorities used personal identification documents, a physical description from Brunton's brother and other records to identify the body, Betz said.

Family members and neighbors said that after years of being homeless Brunton inherited some money from his mother in 2009 and bought the tiny house for $10,000 cash, Betz said. He likely killed himself shortly after, Betz said.

Because he died in the winter and inside a dark closet, Brunton's body tissue dried out and was preserved. No one went looking for Brunton, who was estranged from his family, Betz said, adding that Brunton did not know his neighbors and had no known work obligations.

"This is kind of like the perfect storm in the sense that neighbors were unaware, he just purchased the home, he was a street guy," Betz said.

He would not confirm press reports that said the adventurous 12-year-old boy thought the body he found was a dummy and told his mother, who alerted authorities.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Susan Heavey)

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4th Arrested For Vandalizing Grave of New Hampshire Businessman

In the news today a woman digs up fathers grave to search for his will

4th arrest in vandalized grave of NH businessman

Associated Press 6/17/2014 

Original Article:

COLEBROOK, N.H. (AP) — A fourth person has been accused of taking part in ransacking the grave of a New Hampshire businessman who died in 2004.

The cement vault of Eddie Nash was found last month cracked, the casket opened and the remains searched. The body was left intact at the Colebrook Village Cemetery.

The Caledonian Record reports ( 53-year-old David Grey, who recently moved to Colebrook from Rhode Island, turned himself in to police on Friday and was charged with interference with a cemetery.

"I think this will probably do it," Colebrook Police Lt. Paul Rella said of the arrests.

Grey was released on personal recognizance bail; it wasn't immediately known if he had a lawyer.

Last week, Nash's daughter, Melanie Lynch, was arrested on similar charges, as was Michael Day. A friend of Lynch's, Ginette Dowse, is accused of conspiracy.

Police believe the casket was pulled out after Lynch commented about her father being buried with "the real will." A police affidavit said Lynch didn't find a will, only a pack of cigarettes in her father's hand.

Nash, who died of a heart attack at 68, started an equipment business in 1979 still run by his family. He's since been reburied.

An engraving on his tombstone reads "King of the Used Equipment World."

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