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Boy finds mummified body hanging from rope in closet

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OHIO — In an empty, dusty house, a boy stumbled upon a classic horror movie scenario this week — a mummified corpse hanging by the neck from a rope.

And officials say it had been there for five years.

Until the boy made his way inside the ramshackle house in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday, neighbors didn’t think anyone lived there, said spokesman Ken Betz from the Montgomery County Coroner’s office.

They thought the house was abandoned, and it looked that way.

The front door was papered with citations for the overgrown yard, and no one came and went from the address. The home was unfurnished.

Inside, however, was the body of Edward Brunton, hanging from a rope in the closet.

The closet shielded his body from rapid decomposition, animals and insects, resulting in the mummy-like condition the boy found it in.

“Because of the location where he was found, it was relatively protected, sunlight protected, temperature protected and low humidity,” coroner Kent Harshbarger told CNN affiliate WDTN.

Brunton died before he could have much contact with his neighbors. He was also estranged from his family and friends, thus no one ever reported him missing, Betz said.

The boy’s mother, Michelle McGrath, went into the house to investigate. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until she entered the room that housed the closet.

“When I crossed the threshold of the room, is when I smelled it,” she said.

She called the police.

Authorities found identification documents on Brunton’s body. His estranged brother, who still recognized him, confirmed it was him.


    • K. Garner

      He was estranged from all his family, kept to himself, found hanging from a rope inside a closet. Most likely suicide. Just a wild guess…

      • Tberryjack

        And maybe not a suicide either, He may have been estranged from his family but it says that the house was unfinished and it sounds as though he was working to get it finished when it says he died before he could have much contact with his neighbors, but with him working to finish his house it sounds like he was looking to a future and NOT to end it all.

  • Jethro Bodnick

    I guess tresspassing will be considered legal in this case for the young boy and his mother????

      • Mandy Maness

        …..Or he was a kid who was exploring. My old childhood friends and I used to do that all the time. Go to the woods, explore an abandoned house, and other things. It was innocent. No criminal intentions.

  • Patricia G

    TBERRYJACK, it says the house was ( UNFURNISHED ) not unfinished. I wish people would READ the article before commenting.
    It is sad either way, for someone to die that way and alone.

  • Zelda Birch

    children are curious and it is appalling to call this child a thieving mutt. No human decency. Children are curious. Abandoned houses are a curiosity for many. Not just for thieves.

  • Mildred Pierce

    In the past year, I have read of several people what were dead for a year or longer before they were discovered. One was in another country. The person was dead for at least 5 or more years before being discovered. They may have family but no one ever contacted them. I always wondered why the mail carrier never notified authorities when they see someone mail piling up for weeks at a time. Actress Yvette Vickers from Attack of the 50 Foot Woman had been dead for about a year before anyone noticed. Just recently a woman was found dead in her home but it was the caring mail carrier who asked the police to do a welfare check because her mail had been piling up. The woman had been dead for a few weeks. She could have been there for years like the other folks if it hadn’t been for the mail carrier being concerned.

  • Mildred Pierce

    The guy must not have had a car. None of the neighbors even knew he was there. He died soon after buying the house. Makes you wonder if it was a murder or erotic asphyxia. It would be strange to buy a house and then kill yourself soon afterwards before you even put furniture in it. Here’s a thought: If he bought the house and was discovered in it unfurnished, that means his furniture was somewhere else. I wonder if someone noticed (like neighbors from where he used to live) that he was moving and never came back to get his clothes and furniture or perhaps they did but didn’t know where he moved to to go look for him.

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