Police investigating after body found in Hazel Park hoarder home

Posted at 12:04 PM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 17:22:18-04

Hazel Park police are investigating after a man's decomposing body was found inside a house in the 140 block of Milton on Friday.

Police say a woman has been living in the home with the body. We're told the home is packed full of stuff and Hazmat crews had to be brought in to remove the man. 

The medical examiner's office says the man may have died in December. The woman was taken to the hospital for evaluation. 

Neighbors say it is the home of 78-year-old Donald Smith, a Vietnam veteran who they hadn't seen since last year.

Matthew Urben, a neighbor, told 7 Action News that Donald said he had cancer, and lived with his roommate, Katherine Lessmann, who is in her 60s.

Recently, Urban said Katherine wouldn't allow him to see Donald.

It all started when police were called to do a welfare check on Katherine Monday. They immediately took her to the hospital covered in feces and maggots. 

Donald's body wasn't found until Friday when they got a search warrant. This also isn't the first time they have had such an investigation.

He took Katherine in in 2005 after someone found her living down the street with her mother's dead body. Donald knew she couldn't take care of herself, and welcomed her into his home so she wouldn't be homeless.

Neighbors noticed an odor, but thought it was due to the cats. Animal control found one dead cat, four cats and four more kittens inside the home.

As far as how Donald died, an autopsy still needs to be done, but police suspect it will find he died of natural causes.