Trigger warning: This article contains mentions of depression and suicide.
Eight months after being reported missing, a man’s body in Illinois, United States was found by her wife while she was getting Christmas decorations in the closet.
According to a report by FOX affiliate KTVI, the 53-year-old man identified as Richard Maedge was reported missing on April 27, 2022. He told his wife Jennifer that he will be leaving for work early the day prior, but she saw only a few traces of him when she got home such as his wallet, keys, and his car parked in their garage.
The police immediately began their search, but to no avail. While exploring Maedge's residence, the county’s chief deputy coroner Kelly Rogers described the house as a “hoarder’s home,” taking note of the “sewer-like” smell in the area.
Jennifer again called the police a few months later and raised concerns about the bothering odor in their home. Authorities, however, did not find any cadavers but still noticed the same smell inside.
The family opted to call the plumber, who identified the smell as sewer gas and put a cap on one of the pipes in the basement. It somehow eliminated the foul smell.
Things remained the same until December 2022, when Jennifer found his dead husband in the closet. She was busy preparing for the holiday season at the time, and little did she know that she would find his body while she was on the hunt for Christmas ornaments for their home.
"I decided to put the Christmas tree up, and I was looking for a tote of Christmas ornaments, and that's when I discovered him," she said.
Richard's autopsy report showed he died by suicide. “No further injuries and no foul play was involved," it read.
Another media outlet reported that his son, Austin, speculated that his father’s death may be due to depression over “family drama.”
Richard’s sister Marilyn Toliver revealed that she and Richard were in the middle of a legal battle against their other sister in line with the guardianship of their father Ed Maedge, who suffered from dementia and died in August. "We were in a serious family conflict. It was terrible," she said.
If you think you, your friend, or your family member is considering self-harm or suicide, you may call the National Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 1553 (Luzon-wide, landline toll-free), 0966-351-4518 or 0917-899-USAP (8727) for Globe/TM users, or 0908-639-2672 for Smart users.