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The Hoarder Who Lost Her Son’s Corpse in Her Own Home

A Premiere Daily Highlight Story: Sometimes there are stories that are just too amazing and note-worthy to keep locked away. That’s why we scour the archives and bring some of them back to experience again. They may surprise you, make you smile, or even shed a tear, but they’re always meant to add a little extra to your day.

There are certain things that have sentimental value, and what those things are can be different for different people. It’s perfectly normal for people to have things they just can’t part with because they have such meaning. However, this can be taken to extremes, to the point that people begin to hoard, and keep everything, which can then negatively impact their lives. In fact, one woman with hoarding tendencies may not have known that she was living with her dead son’s body in her house for 20 years. 

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The intact skeletal remains of the son of Rita Wolfensohn, a blind hoarder living in Brooklyn, was found in her home (pictured) earlier this month
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Hoarder Lost her Son’s Body

In 2016, Rita Wolfensohn was living alone in her home in Brooklyn. She is an elderly woman, who was classified as legally blind. Rita was a collector of many things and her house was filled to the brim with all of them. She had two sons with her husband Jesse, who died in 1987. Her son’s names were Louis and Michael. Unfortunately, Michael died in 2003, when he was 38 years old. Rita had apparently lost contact with her brother, Joseph Buchman, over the years. They recently rekindled some communications, and this led to an unexpected discovery. 

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Rita had experienced a bad fall, and her injuries called for her to be hospitalized. While she was there, Joseph’s wife, Josette Buchman, went to Rita’s house. Her mission was to collect some personal items like clothes and toiletries for Rita. When she entered the home, she found an unsightly mess. Along with the clutter and hoarded items, there was litter and trash everywhere, accompanied by the stench of rotting food. She went upstairs and ended up finding a fully intact skeleton that was wearing clothes! It was in the second-floor bedroom, lying on a mattress. This was September 15th, 2016.

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Rita's sister in law. Josette Buchman
Rita’s sister in law. Josette Buchman – Edmund J Coppa | New York Post

The body turned out to be her son, Louis. This was apparently news to Rita, who was under the impression her son had moved out of their Brooklyn home 20 years prior. According to the reports, Louis’s body was lying on its back, and all the clothes were still there. He had died wearing a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and a pair of socks. 

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Some Reverse Psycho Scene.” 

Josette called the police who described the scene as ‘some reverse “Psycho” scene’. The room was filled to the brim with garbage and rotting food. The smell was terrible, and there was no smell of rotting flesh. Many people might believe that she had something to do with it. The police who dealt with this case believe that she truly had no idea her son’s body was there this whole time. She is legally blind, which means she struggles to see, so she could have easily not seen his body, nor smelled his decaying flesh amongst all the rotting food smells. The room was a paradise for spiders, with cobwebs covering everything.

After some investigation, the police had given a statement that the body did, in fact, die of natural causes. They could rule out foul play or murder, but they were hesitant at the time to confirm whether or not the body was actually his. The New York Post did some investigating, and they found out that Louis had been a taxi driver before he passed.

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Rita's brother, Joseph Buchman
Rita’s brother, Joseph Buchman – Edmund J Coppa | New York Post

Hoarding Disorder Explained

According to psychiatry.org, there is a vast difference between hoarding and collecting. If you are a collector you are more likely to focus your collections on your interests. Let’s say you are into cars, so you might collect various models to keep on display. Collectors tend to love organizing their items, which no longer exist to function, but rather to be admired. Hoarding is an entirely different thing. It is gathering and stashing items that are random and not at all related. Hoarders have an inability to organize their hoarding, and it ends up cluttering their homes. 

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So much clutter in a home, not to mention the smells from rotting food can not only be a physical health concern but also a mental and emotional one. Along with being a massive fire hazard and tripping aid, Hoarding can cause one to isolate themselves, and ultimately become depressed and anxious.

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Sources:

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  1. Blind hoarder discovers dead body of son ‘missing’ for 20 years upstairs amongst junk.NY Post. Melkorka Licea. September 25, 2016.
  2. Blind hoarder is found to have unknowingly lived with remains of her fully-clothed son who hasn’t been seen in 20 years.Daily Mail. Dailymail Reporter. September 26, 2016.
Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13 year old boy.
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