As the title states this one-sided non-scientific post by me, a death scene cleaner on tips your neighbor might be dead is intended to be both educational and informative. As a cleaner of death scenes you see and hear many things, and sometimes what you see and hear are shocking like; finding out how long the tenant or homeowner has been deceased, decomposing in their home for days, weeks and yes - even months. At times neighbors of the deceased, as well as family members or friends will often repeat this same phrase “I had no idea he/she been deceased for so long”, and the signs are so obvious that people don’t recognize them. With all the crime scene, forensic shows on TV where victims are found dead in apartments or homes due to crime or death scenes you would think neighbors would be more keen to identify signs of trouble, well you would be wrong as the tips I will demonstrate are so obvious yet so oblivious to most.
Tip 1. You haven’t seen your neighbor in a while
They may just be avoiding you, a recluse or introvert, or they could be dead if you have not seen your neighbor in a while. Sounds pretty obvious, right?
Tip 2. No response from phone calls, emails, etc
This tip could be used by anyone, but for the sake of this post we will use – neighbors. If your neighbor has not answered the phone, or returned any of your messages, texts, emails, etc that you have left for them, there is a good chance they either do not want to talk to you or are dead.
Tip 3. Numerous newspapers left in the yard or at the door step of residence
Yes, I know how could anyone not notice a stack of Sunday papers left on the doormat? If you ever notice a couple newspapers left out in the front yard of your neighbor’s place and they are not out of town, you might want to check on them, especially if they are elderly or have medical conditions. A bunch of daily newspapers or worse Sunday papers are a tip your neighbor might be dead.
Tip 4. Advertisements/solicitations attached to front door
These are the pizza brochures, pamphlets walk-around solicitors place in your door or around the door knob. If there’s a lot of them on or around the main entrance to the property there is a good chance the occupant might be dead if they are not out of town.
Tip 5. Flies in windows of home
We are now stepping it up a notch where the tips your neighbor might be dead may only be visible to close proximity neighbors such at a condo or apartment complex where other residents walk by neighboring residences down a hall or pass on foot in front of other homes. We are not speaking of a fly or two, more like seeing 10-50 flies in the windows. Some flies may mean the trash needs to be emptied, lots of flies in a home may mean your neighbor is dead.
Tip 6. An awful smell emanating from the residence
This is when it gets nasty – if there is an odor so horrible it makes you gag when you pass by or go near the door, there is a good chance the occupant of that home may be dead. What you smell is the odor of a decomposing body and the smells are so noticeable, almost like the smell of a road-kill animal on the side of the road. I have been to apartments where the tenant was not found for weeks and the odor could be smelled from outside the apartment building, but neighbors living across the hall of their decomposing neighbor never recognized that there could be an issue with it.
Tip 7. You see police cars and a van that says coroner on it, in front of your neighbor’s home
Yes, I have been on death scenes where a nosey neighbor comes over to talk to me and asks “Do you know if so and so is ok?” how would you respond?
The above tips are just a few simple, yet extremely important key points of identifying potential trouble at a neighbor’s home. Put down your smart phone and remove your ear plugs and pay attention to your surroundings, you may one day help someone that needs it.