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A 53-year-old Illinois woman first reported her husband missing on April 2, 2022. He was not found until December 11, 2022— eight months later.
The circumstances of this specific eight-month search are mind-boggling. It serves as a great reminder to throw things away when you don’t need them.
Richard Maedge and his wife Jennifer are not good at doing that. They were, and are, hoarders.
Jennifer last spoke to her husband on April 26. He called her on the way home from work and said that he was leaving early. She wasn’t home.
Upon arrival back to their residence in Troy, Ill., Jennifer saw his car parked outside. His keys and his wallet were in the house.
Richard wasn’t there.
That’s when Jennifer gave the police a ring for the first time. They eventually arrived to the home to discover the hoarder tendencies and began a search to no avail.
Police noticed a “sewer-like” odor inside the residence, but could not find Richard anywhere. The missing person case remained open and a few weeks passed before Jennifer called again.
She noticed an odor, perhaps different than the one that was discovered by police during their initial search. There is no way of knowing, because the second search also did not turn up any remains and they found the odor to be the same as their first search.
Kelly Rogers, the county chief’s deputy coroner, said that the family contacted a plumber, who described the odor as sewer gas. He put a cap on one of the pipes in the basement and the odor subsided.
And then a few months more went by before Jennifer went to put up her Christmas decorations. At that point, she went into a concealed closet area to find a specific tote bag. When she opened the door, Richard’s body was inside.
According to Rogers, the corpse had mummified. So much time had passed that the fluids had dried up.
Mummified bodies may not have a strong odor, which helps explain why it took so long to find Richard. Perhaps the initial stink of his corpse was masked by the sewer gas.
Whatever it was, Richard was not found for eight months in a house full of things that neither he nor his wife needed. It was straight out of an episode of TLC’s Hoarders: Buried Alive— or, in this case, Hoarders: Buried Dead.