Elderly Hoarder Unknowingly Lived With Adult Son’s Remains for 20 Years

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(Via Giphy)

An elderly widow has been living for decades in a Brooklyn house that was quite nice and sizable when she moved in, but over the years her hoarding tendencies and inability to care for it compounded to the point where it was a garbage-choked disaster. Nobody ever noticed, though, because Rita Wolfensohn didn’t have visitors. Earlier this month, however, the neighborhood was horrified when the skeletal remains of a grown man believed to be Wolfensohn’s son were discovered in the house, and they may have been there for up to 20 years.

According to the New York Post, Wolfensohn’s husband died in 1987, and her son Michael died in 2003 at the age of 38. Michael’s passing was apparently recorded normally and handled legally. She had another son, Louis, though, and relatives are now saying they have not seen Louis in about 20 years. Police say Wolfensohn is legally blind.

On September 15 Rita Wolfensohn went to the hospital, and her sister-in-law came by the house to pick up some of her things for her. That’s when she discovered the disaster in the house, and a human skeleton lying on a mattress on the floor of a second-floor bedroom.

The poor sister-in-law was just trying to do something nice for an old blind lady, and suddenly she’s in the beginning of a Law and Order episode.

The remains have not been positively identified, but are assumed to be those of Wolfensohn’s son, Louis. The skeleton was reportedly lying on a mattress on the floor of the bedroom, and it was fully dressed in jeans, socks, and a shirt. At first it seemed like something really grisly might have happened — police described it as “like some reverse ‘Psycho’ scene,” because of the Hitchcock movie where Norman Bates has his mother’s remains in the basement–but now police are thinking Wolfensohn may genuinely not have known the body was in her house at all. 

Police say that because Wolfensohn is legally blind, and the house is so crammed with trash and debris, she might genuinely not have noticed. The house could have smelled bad enough that she never noticed the scent of decomposing flesh, and by this point the body was just a skeleton and did not smell like anything.

When police asked Wolfensohn about what was going on, she talked about her son Louis as though he’d just moved out. And now they’re thinking he might have died of natural causes and gone unnoticed for years. It’s not even clear how long the body was there before Wolfensohn’s sister-in-law discovered it.