Body of Hoarder Found in Floor-To-Ceiling Piles of Junk
August 26, 2010 — Las Vegas, Nevada
Four month search for missing Las Vegas woman ends this week when husband finds her corpse entangled in a web of clutter in their own home. The mess was so bad that trained police dogs could not detect her dead body on previous searches.
The body of Billie Jean James, missing for four months, was found this week – get this – in her own home, which had already been searched several times. While helping police search the surrounding desert and home again, Bill James spotted his pack-rat wife’s feet poking out of a floor-to-ceiling pile of junk Wednesday (August 24), showcasing the woman’s issues with hoarding.
Police say they had searched the home several times previously, even with the help of k-9s trained to help located bodies at Ground Zero after the September 11 and Hurricane Katrina tragedies. But they were not able to find any traces of the body amongst the piles of trash, knickknacks, clothes and other junk.
“For our dogs to go through that house and not find something should be indicative of the tremendous environmental challenges they faced,” stated police spokesman Bill Cassell.
No cause of death has been stated at this point. Clark County Coroner’s office spokeswoman Jessica Coloma said it could take weeks to determine when and how the 67-year-old woman died. Bill James has been cooperative throughout the investigation and quickly notified police of his discovery.
Inside the Home
Spokesman Cassell said that the inside of the home was so cluttered that there were only small paths left for walkways and that strong odors hindered their search efforts. The smells were apparently being generated by animals, decomposing garbage, food, clothes and other junk.
How Could No One Notice the Smell of a Decomposing Body?
That is a big question right now, according to police. However, with the smell of the garbage and other mess, one can possibly understand how it may go undetected.
“I’m trying to figure out how a body couldn’t smell so bad — that’s what everyone’s saying,” said Sari Connolly – a friend of the family. “It’s the million-dollar question right now.”