On Tuesday, William Wilson bought a pink house in Cape Coral.

He paid $96,000 for the neglected Florida property, which had rusted security bars on the windows and dead bolts on the door. Wilson told the Fort Myers News-Press that he visited the home the next day, hoping to do some yard work.

There were boxes inside the messy house and some photos on the refrigerator, Wilson told the newspaper. In a bedroom, however, he also found a body.

“You couldn’t tell who it was,” Wilson said, according to the News-Press. “You couldn’t tell if it was a male or a female … it’s disappointing and a sad thing that nobody cared enough to check.”

Officers from the Cape Coral Police Department were at the house Wednesday, the newspaper reported, and residents in the neighborhood came outside to watch them work.


A department spokesman did not immediately return a telephone message from The Post on Thursday. A message left at a number listed for Wilson was also not returned.

“I didn’t know them,” one Cape Coral woman told the News-Press. “It’s very strange, all those bars on the house. I never smelled anything … that’s just freaky. I’m freaked out.”

This kind of grim discovery has happened before. In March, a contractor discovered the body of a woman in the garage of a foreclosed home in Michigan, and in 2012, workers found a man’s body in a Milwaukee County home.

Three years ago, Michael Kruse wrote a potent story for the Tampa Bay Times about a Florida woman who “disappeared, but never left home.” Her mummified body was discovered in the passenger seat of the car parked in the garage, by the man who’d bought the townhouse in a foreclosure auction.

Following the latest case, Bill Harrigan, who lives across the street from where the body was discovered this week, told the News-Press: “It’s sad about the whole thing. Nobody ever checked on her.”

Here’s what investigators told Wilson, according to the paper:

Authorities told him the most recent piece of mail was from November of 2011 and unpaid taxes went back three years. The corpse was on the floor of the master bedroom next to the bed. Longtime neighbors say an older woman from Miami last lived at the home with her sister, but they hadn’t seen or heard from her for several years.
Some thought she moved, others said she just disappeared. Outside, the grass grew long and the community speculated. Inside, Wilson said all that remained were bones, skin and the smell of remains. In the living room was a bird cage and piles of feces.

“I had a hunch,” a neighbor, Gary Oben Jr., told the News-Press. “Either it was a grow house or there was a dead lady in there.”