Eight months after an Illinois woman reported her husband missing, she found him dead in their home.
Jennifer Maedge reported her husband, Richard, missing on April 27, 2022, telling Troy, Illinois police that she had spoken with him the day before, Fox 2 reported. She told police that Richard had called her to tell her that he was leaving work early, but when she came home, he was nowhere to be found, even though his car was parked outside and his wallet and keys were in the home.
Police went out to the residence, which they described as a “hoarder home,” but couldn’t find Richard or any evidence suggesting where he might be. Kelly Rogers, the Madison County coroner, told Fox 2 that police noticed a “sewer-like” odor inside the residence, but didn’t think anything of it.
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.
Jennifer told the outlet that the smell of the body wasn’t “overpowering” and the closet where Richard was found was concealed, so she understood why police weren’t able to find him.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free hotline for individuals in crisis or distress or for those looking to help someone else. It is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.