ST. LOUIS — The mummified remains of a man believed to have been dead for several years were found in a St. Louis home along with the body of a woman police believe had been dead for two weeks by the time she was discovered Friday.
Firefighters went to the home after an investigator with the Humane Society of Missouri responded to a call about a dead dog in the backyard but couldn't get anyone to come to the door.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Saturday that firefighters entered the home and found a woman known by neighbors as Chrissy in a bathroom. The mummified remains of the elderly man were found propped up in a wheelchair in a back room.
Police spokeswoman Katie O'Sullivan identified the two as Christine Holland, 55, and Louis Burrows, 86.
A half dozen dead animals, including dogs, cats and birds, were scattered around the house, and investigators also found six live cats and two live dogs, which are being treated by the Humane Society.
"As authorities were removing the animals from the home, they discovered a second victim in a back room," O'Sullivan said in an email. "The white male appears to have been deceased for some time."
Tranace Greenfield, who lives next door to the home, said an elderly man who used a wheelchair lived alone in the house when she moved onto the block in 2000. Two years later, Holland moved into the man's home, telling neighbors she was helping the older man with things like cooking and cleaning.
Greenfield said nobody had seen the man since 2005, and Holland told neighbors he had died. Greenfield said soon after that the house became an eyesore, with Holland collecting trash and furniture other neighbors set out for pickup.
Greenfield said Holland neglected the nine dogs she kept in the backyard, mostly chows and German shepherds, and that she first noticed a strong smell coming from the direction of the home a week ago.
"I thought one of her dogs had died," Greenfield said. "It had happened a few times. This is horrible."
Another neighbor, David Williams, said he often talked with Holland, and she sometimes shared vegetables from her garden with his family.
"She seemed like a nice person," said Williams, who has lived across the alley from Holland for just over a year. "She didn't seem odd. She just seemed like a person who kept to herself."