8.31.2010 Re-post By CK Hunter
Las Vegas Hoarder Found Dead in Her Cluttered Possessions
(Aug. 28) — A Las Vegas woman who had been missing for four months was found buried beneath a mountain of garbage and clutter in her own home.
Bill James brought the search for his wife Billie Jean to a horrifying conclusion on Wednesday when he spotted her feet sticking out from the pile of junk that filled the room from floor to ceiling.
The collected clothes, trash and knicknacks in Billie Jean James’s house was so vast that sniffer dogs had searched the home without finding her corpse, The Associated Press reported.
“For our dogs to go through that house and not find something should be indicative of the tremendous environmental challenges they faced,” police spokesman Bill Cassell said.
Billie Jean, 67, went missing from her home in April, according to a local ABC affiliate. Bill James says he woke up from a nap and could not find his wife anywhere.
He assumed that she had wandered away. She had recently had a mini-stroke that left her disoriented, and he worried that she had suffered another.
Authorities launched a massive hunt for the woman, using sniffer dogs and even helicopters equipped with infrared to search the desert. Meanwhile, Bill set up a Facebook page to promote the search and offered a $10,000 reward.
Little did they know that she would eventually be found exactly where she was meant to be — at home.
Family friends told the Las Vegas Review Journal that Billie Jean was a compulsive hoarder, with a passion for shopping for trinkets and clothes. One friend said that Billie Jean referred to the room where she was found as “her rabbit hole.”
Sari Connolly, a friend of’ Billie Jean’s, said she had become so obsessive in her hoarding that she kept people out of her home, even refusing to let them use the bathroom.
“She became this hoarder person, and she wouldn’t let anyone come in her house,” Connolly said.
Cassell told the AP that the house had only small amounts of clear space so that people could get around, and that the home was filled with strong odors from animals, garbage and food.
Billie Jean is not the first person whose hoarding instincts proved fatal. In May, an aging Chicago couple was trapped for two weeks after being buried in their belongings. When they were rescued, they were found to have rat bites on their bodies.
In 1947, police found a body inside a Manhattan row house. Brothers Homer and Langley Collyer had filled the house with possessions, including a Model T chassis, 14 pianos and more than 25,000 books.
Both brothers were found dead among the clutter.
Michelle Carro, an assistant psychology professor at the University of Nevada, told The Las Vegas Review Journal that hoarding happens when people find it impossible to make decisions, organize themselves or focus on immediate tasks.
Billie Jean’s death is “an example of what can happen when your hoarding behavior is out of control,” he said.