Boyz II Men said it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday, and boy is that true. It’s difficult to shake memories and part with loved ones when dealing with something as heartbreaking as a breakup or earth shattering as a death. When we suffer losses, even if we’ve had fair warning and much time to prepare for them, the grieving period still exists and isn’t easy, but with the proper support system and help in our corners, it doesn’t have to be a lonely road.
Not everyone can go through losing someone and come out healthy on the other side. For some, they don’t know how to deal without the person they love being with them forever, including after that person dies. When a loved one passes away in the home, the person living with them is supposed to alert authorities, notify family and friends, and if it’s their responsibility, begin planning a wake and funeral. Some relationships are so close that when one person is gone the other doesn’t know how to live without them, but it’s not always love that makes someone want to continue on living with the dead. Greed is one hell of a drug, and once a person finds an opportunity to milk the system, they will exploit it as much as they can. The people on this list kept a ghoulish home environment for love, for money, because they were lonely, or because, let’s face it, they were mentally ill.
15. Killed Woman For Not Believing In God
If it weren’t for witnesses and neighbors who became suspicious of Anita Braxton, police would have never figured out that she had been living with dead body for three days. The Phoenix, Arizona woman had a long history with authorities as she’d been arrested over a dozen times. This run-in with the law would land her in big trouble after Braxton confessed to murdering 20-year-old Crystal Hillman because the young woman didn’t believe in Braxton’s God. To appease her higher power, Braxton shot Hillman in the head, laid her dead body on the sofa, and covered her in a towel to make her “a shrine from God.” Her “god” didn’t tell her that bodies that begin to rot let off a putrid odor that can’t be masked by a towel and a prayer.
14. Afterlife Of Love
In 1930, Carl Tanzler, a man in his 50s, found the love of his life when he met 21-year-old Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos. The bacteriologist was working as an X-ray technician when he first saw her in a hospital where she was being treated for tuberculosis. He was determined to cure her and obsessed over her in the last months of her life, but unfortunately she died in 1931. Her family tried to find her but to no avail, until finally in 1940 Elena’s sister had enough of getting the run around and confronted Tanzler.
Ready to share his darkest secret, Tanzler took the sister to his home where she found Elena’s decayed, mummified body. At first the sister thought she was looking at a doll because Tanzler had carefully placed wiring in Elena’s body and stuffed her with rags to make her look more realistic. He even covered her skin in plaster and wax and put a paper tube in her vagina so that he could have sex with her.
13. The Girlfriend Who Couldn’t Let Go
Charles Zeigler loved to stay home and watch his NASCAR races with his longtime 72-year-old girlfriend, Linda Chase. The 67-year-old and his lady love spent the majority of their time together, so when he passed away in 2010, Linda found it difficult to part ways with her beau. It wasn’t until 18 months later in 2012 that police finally discovered Zeigler’s body inside of the home. His mummified corpse was right there in the living room, sitting in his favorite chair, positioned right in front of the television. Investigators later found out that this wasn’t just a case of an elderly woman who couldn’t separate from her boyfriend; Linda was also keeping the illusion that Zeigler was alive because she was cashing his social security checks.
12. The Grieving Mother
When someone dies, the family usually comes together to help each other grieve while making the arrangements to put their loved one to rest. Tsiuri Kvaratskhelia’s loss of her 22-year-old son Joni Bakaradze left her destroyed, so she decided to preserve his body. At the time of his death Joni had a two-year-old son and because she wanted the boy to know his father, she kept Joni’s body in the house.
The first four years she used embalming fluid on Joni’s corpse before switching things up and using vodka to prevent his skin from turning black. For ten years she would change Joni’s clothes on his birthdays but as she grew older that task became too difficult. However, she’s managed to keep his dead body by her side for over 20 years.
11. The Dead Son
Bruce and Schrell Hopkins were also parents who were destroyed by the death of their seven-year-old son, Caleb. For two months they kept the child’s body inside of their apartment, taking care of him as if he was alive. They claimed they could bear to deal with the fact that he was actually dead, so they didn’t want to bury his body.
Police stumbled across the scene at the couples’ home after the landlord called them to complain that they hadn’t paid their rent. The exact time and date of death for the boy couldn’t be determined, but prosecutors weren’t letting them off the hook that easily. The pair knew that their son was sick but didn’t believe in conventional medicine, so they didn’t take him to the hospital. They were charged with negligent homicide.
10. Mother And Son
In early 2014 in Buenos Aires, neighbors in a small community complained to authorities that there was a strange smell coming from the home of 58-year-old Claudio Alferi. Police did a welfare check and when they entered the home, they found dear ol’ Claudio dead on the kitchen floor. They estimated that he had died about a month earlier, but that isn’t the weird part about this tale. Claudio wasn’t the only corpse in the house; his mother’s mummified body was sitting upright in a chair at the kitchen table. She was fully dressed, even down to her favorite slippers. Neighbors shared with investigators that Claudio suffered from psychological problems and police didn’t believe that there was any foul play involved with her death.
9. Grisly Scene
In 2013, a woman in Belgium was so devastated that her husband had died that she continued to live with his dead body for a year. The widow even slept beside her 69-year-old husband’s dead body and went on about her days as if nothing had changed. How she was able to keep that up with the horrifying smell of rotting flesh is beyond us, and when police came to investigate they found that the man’s internal organs had liquefied. According to the landlord, the rent hadn’t been paid since 2012, but before you begin suspecting foul play, police suspect that the man died of an asthma attack. Better than a grieving widow who killed her husband and lived with his body. That’s just the making of a horror movie.
8. Murderous Husband
When domestic abuse is involved in a relationship, there’s no telling when one day the violent person will go too far. That was the case with Parthasarathy who, after beating his wife senseless in their bedroom, left her there to cry and tend to her injuries. When he returned he found that his 28-year-old bride, overwhelmed with grief, hanged herself from their ceiling fan. She wasn’t dead just yet, so he cut her down and laid her on the bed. She passed away not long after. Instead of calling the police, Parthasarathy slept outside of his bedroom door in the hallway and told his young children that their mother couldn’t be bothered because she was sick. After keeping this up for four days the body began to rot and smell, and neighbors called police to check on the home where they found a horrid scene.
7. Just Wanted Some Company
Somewhere around the year 2000, Jean Stevens’ husband, James, died. Although this left her longing for her companion, she was able to get through the heartache and grief with the help of her twin sister, June. However, in 2009 June died, and 91-year-old Jean was left without anyone. She decided to have both her husband’s and her sister’s graves exhumed illegally and had their bodies delivered to her home. She would talk to them as if they were alive and it made her feel as if she had company. James was settled on the couch in her garage while June was seated in the guest room.
6. Dead Dad
For four months, Timothy Brown lived with the body of his dead father, Kenneth. He wasn’t trying to hide the remains, either. Police got a tip about Timothy’s strange roommate when a neighbor stopped by for a visit and discovered Kenneth’s body sitting up in a chair, fully dressed in his pajamas. An investigation revealed that Kenneth passed away from the effects of a fire which made something inside of Timothy snap. The son went on with his daily activities and just acted as if his father was still alive.
Detective Constable Andrew Weatherley of Staffordshire constabulary said, “He couldn’t come to terms with the fact his father had passed away. The pair had led a reclusive life together and were very close” and “He realized he should have reported the death but couldn’t bring himself to do it. There was no obvious motive for him to cause the death of his father, and it was decided he should not face criminal charges. At the end of the day, he had lost his father.”
5. Failed Murder-Suicide
Back in 2010 a bizarre story unfolded in Phoenix, Arizona. A call came in to dispatch from a 56-year-old man who told police that he had shot his wife. Officers hurried to the scene not knowing what to expect, and when they arrived at the man’s home they saw the dead body of a 66-year-old woman. However, they discovered that she had been shot the previous Friday. To make matters even more peculiar, the man had a large wound on his face from where he shot himself. He obviously was still alive, and told police that he and his wife planned a murder-suicide but he survived. The man was quickly taken to the hospital to tend to his injuries before police arrested him and took him into custody.
4. In It For The Money
There are certain people who will do just about anything to put a few extra dollars in their pockets, like Christopher Blackburn. For five months he lived at home with the dead body of his father, cashing in on his benefit checks. Blackburn purchased a computer, a pair of shoes, and copious amounts of alcohol. Neighbors became concerned after not seeing Blackburn’s father for quite some time and called the authorities. The 54-year-old man’s body was discovered propped up on the couch in the living room in plain sight. The good thing is that police believe he died from natural causes so it isn’t as if Blackburn killed him, but the son still faced charges in 2012 for “preventing the lawful and decent burial of a dead body, and for the theft of £1,869 from the Department of Work and Pensions in fraudulently obtained benefit payments.”
3. Love That Lasts Forever
This is the type of love that will never let go, not even when one half of the couple is no longer alive. A Vietnamese man by the name of Le Van couldn’t bear living life without his wife who died in 2003. When she was buried, he slept on top of her grave every night just to be close to her. In some morbid way, this is pretty endearing, but things took a turn—and fast. When the weather got bad, sleeping in a cemetery became arduous, so Le Van dug a tunnel down to his dead wife’s casket to weather the storm. He did this for a year before he just took her body home. He molded her with clay and plaster, put a nice little outfit on her, and even added some lipstick. He sleeps with her body every night, and before their kids go to bed, they have to give their mother a hug. Creeps.
2. The Blind Hoarder
A police officer was so shocked with what he found at Rita Wolfensohn’s Brooklyn home that he described it as “like some reverse Psycho scene.” In September 2016, Rita’s sister-in-law Josette Buchman visited the house and found a fully-dressed skeleton lying on a mattress in one of the rooms. Rita is a hoarder who happens to also be legally blind and her house was just a mess. Police believe that Rita’s son died 20 years prior to his remains being found. Rita said she thought that her son moved out and left her alone 20 years ago and gave up on hoping that she would ever find or hear from him again. It’s impossible to determine his cause of death, but it’s plausible that he died in one of the rooms of the house and she just never stumbled across his body. That’s horrifying.
1. Thirty Years Of Death
All of these stories on this list are enough to make your skin crawl, but nothing surpasses the Illinois woman who lived with the dead bodies of her entire family. In 2008, Margaret Bernstorff, 94, was just another old lady in the neighborhood. People in the community didn’t have any complaints about her, and when she was tending to her garden, she would often stop and speak with people walking by her home. No problems here.
However, no one was allowed in Margaret’s home and it probably was for the best. Neighbors just thought she was a private woman, but what they didn’t know was that crazy old Margaret was living with the dead bodies of her three siblings. She would often be asked about them to which she would say Anita (died in 2008) was sick, Frank (died in 2003) moved to another state, and rarely did she bring up Elaine (died in the ’70s). A community manager entered the home for a health check and discovered the bodies. The three most likely died of natural causes, but police do believe that Margaret was committing Social Security fraud.