Police Detective Jeff Clark questions neighbors about badly de-composed remains found in a basement at 438 E. Streicher St.
THE BLADE/LORI KING
Toledo police have another mystery on their hands after a badly decomposed body was found Wednesday inside a North Toledo house — the second body found in the area within a month.
The body was reported to police at 10:52 a.m. by an asbestos-removal crew working inside 438 E. Streicher St. The two-man unit was contracted to do the work to prepare the property, which has been vacant for several years, for demolition.
Police said the crew was going into the basement and kicked aside a blanket, exposing a set of legs. The workers left the house and reported the find to police.
Sgt. Tim Noble, who was at the scene, said it appeared the body had been in the basement for “an awfully long time.”
He could not say whether the blanket was covering the body or whether the body had been wrapped in the blanket.
The body was so badly decomposed that investigators on scene could not immediately determine the approximate age, race, or gender of the remains. Nor could they determine how the person died.
For that information, they will have to wait for an autopsy and analysis from the Lucas County Coroner's Office.
Police are treating the case as a homicide, as they do with all suspicious deaths.
“You don’t just find bodies at the bottom of the steps, so we’re suspicious of that,” Sergeant Noble said.
A neighbor said the property has been vacant for about five years and has been boarded up since last summer.
Sergeant Noble could not say whether there were signs of forced entry.
City spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei said nuisance abatement tickets for the property go back to 2007; everything from not boarding up the property to not caring for or mowing the lot.
In February, a final notice was sent to property owners, who never complied, Ms. Sorgenfrei said. On March 20, the property was added to the demolition list, though a tear-down date had not been set.
The owner of the house, according to county property records, is Yolanda Williams of the East Streicher address. It was not clear to whom the nuisance tickets were addressed.
It was also unclear whether the Wednesday-morning discovery would push back the demolition.
The find was the second such discovery in July of a body in North Toledo. On July 10, a badly decomposed body was found in a North Toledo garage behind 2713 Buckeye St.
Police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said a cause of death has not been determined, and the remains have not been identified; investigators are waiting on results from a DNA analysis.