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Boy finds leathery corpse hanging for five years in Ohio home

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Kids go to abandoned homes and buildings to play and, perhaps, find something useful but not likely to find hanging corpses. Unfortunately, this is what an adolescent boy found while exploring what is believed to be an abandoned house.

The 12-year-old boy was venturing into an empty house in Dayton, Ohio on Sunday when he saw the body of a man hanging by the neck in a closet. The boy's mother, Michelle McGrath, said that her son went into the house and saw the body of the man that he initially thought was a mannequin or a dummy.

"My son came home and said, he said to me that he had gone into an abandoned house and he found a body," said Michelle McGrath.

The home was thought to be abandoned as it had an overgrown yard, was unfurnished and posted with cleanup warnings but it appears that the owner has been inside the house all along albeit lifeless. Authorities said that the body of 53-year old Edward Brunton, who bought the house in 2009, has been dead for five years. The body was identified through paperwork found inside the house and Brunton's estranged brother confirmed it was him.

Officials from the coroner's office said that the body has hardened because the tissues have already dried up and it has the leathery appearance of a mummy due to the cold and dark condition of the house that helped preserved the body. The closet, where the body was found, appeared to have protected the body as well from animals, insects and decomposition. Coroner Kent Harshbarger said that body was protected from sunlight and humidity.

"It is very unique to find mummified remains like this, 5-years-old," Harshbarger said. "He was found suspended from the neck still from a belt in the closet. So it appears to be a suicide."

Ken Betz, the director of the Montgomery County coroner's office, said that Brunton was homeless until he bought the house in October 2009 after inheriting money from his mother. The man is believed to have died soon after moving into his new home and no one reported him missing apparently because he did not have enough time to build friendship with his new neighbors and was estranged from family and friends.

The coroner's office believes that Brunton committed suicide based on how he was found hanging with a belt around his neck but the police still launched an investigation.

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