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Wisconsin man's body found in home 4 years after his suicide

posted 2/6/2012 10:19:36 PM |
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tagged: news, people, sad, straddle

Sad this had to happen in the first place, but for no one to notice after a period of 4 years...

A Wisconsin man everyone thought moved away in 2007 had actually killed himself, leaving his body to rot in his home for more than four years.

The shocking discovery of David Carter's remains came in January after his West Allis house was handed over to the city because of unpaid property taxes, according to the Journal Sentinel newspaper.

The 41-year-old's "nearly skeletonized body" was found on the second floor, according to the medical examiner's report. "A Smith & Wesson 9-mm. handgun was found lying on the decedent's chest," and an autopsy concluded he died from a gunshot wound to the head.

It is unclear exactly when Carter died, but it was likely in late 2007, which according to the Journal Sentinel is when he quit his job and told friends he was moving to New Mexico.

Carter may have been despondent at the time over a breakup with a girlfriend, according to CBS 58 News. The two had a daughter together, whom he hadn't seen since 2006.

"I knew he was alone and I wanted to talk to him," Theresa Bornheimer, an old friend of Carter's, told the local news station. "But I couldn't because of the fact that I never saw him at home."

Described as a generous man by friends and relatives, Carter had taken care of his mother for years before her death from cancer in 1997. He had no siblings, and never knew his father, the Journal Sentinel reported.

The city is expected to clean out the house and sell it. The money from the sale will likely go to the city, but could potentially be claimed by his daughter.

Link of the story and pic of him

New York Daily News

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Feb 6 @ 10:33PM  
That is just tragic. All those bills he would have left unpaid...and absolutely no one thought to send a cop over to his house in all of that time? At 41 years old, wasn't he paying on a mortgage? It just seems so weird that in 4 years no one thought to have a cop check on him? I mean, yeah, friends thought he had moved, but, what about neighbors? The mail person, utility company? No one noticed in 4 years that the lawn wasn't being cut? That the house never went up for sale?

Feb 6 @ 10:37PM  
I saw another article on this on Yahoo, and I beleive it stated that he owned his own home. His house was foreclosed on because of all the taxes he owed on it from year to hear, along with the upkeep to his property by the city.

Feb 6 @ 10:41PM  
Here's the Yahoo article on this.

The body of a Wisconsin man was discovered inside his home more than four years after he reportedly killed himself with a handgun.

The "nearly skeletonized body" of David Carter was discovered inside his home in January by a real estate agent sent to deliver foreclosure papers to the house, as first reported by But his actual death is estimated to have occurred sometime in 2007. So, how did Carter's death manage to go unnoticed for so long by friends, family, bill collectors and even the local government?

Like so many things these days, the nation's struggling economy is at least partly to blame. After Carter disappeared, his utilities were eventually shut off and it was presumed his home had been abandoned. But that's only part of the sad story.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Jim Stingl dug deeper into the story and discovered that Carter, intentionally or not, had nearly all of his bases covered before apparently choosing to end his own life in utter seclusion.

Carter told his friends and neighbors that he was planning to move to New Mexico. When he first disappeared, they apparently assumed he had followed through on those plans. Carter had no siblings and never met his father. The death of his mother in 1997 reportedly put him in a depressive state he never recovered from.

His friends described Carter as a "giving and funny guy." But as with many cases of severe depression, it appears Carter spent enough time in isolation that his disappearance didn't immediately register as alarming.

According to the county medical examiner's report, as quoted by Stingl, "Spider webs were noted all around the residence," and that a "Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun was found lying on the decedent's chest."

Carter's home was paid for, but while local property taxes still accumulated, the city was in no rush to collect. In fact, Stingl notes that the city of West Allis continued to mow his lawn and shovel snow from his driveway in the years after his then unknown passing. The $3,700 in charges for the annual maintenance efforts was simply added to Carter's growing county property tax bills and fees, which had grown to more than $30,000.

Authorities finally moved in after Carter's house was awarded to Milwaukie County in a December tax foreclosure. It is now being put up for sale. Meanwhile, Carter's cousin, Kevin O'Neill, and some of Carter's friends are planning a memorial gathering in his honor.

Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in 2007, claiming nearly 35,000 lives. Carter's friends says he was depressed in the years leading up to his death and had been drinking more than usual. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 90 percent of all suicide victims experience issues with substance abuse and/or depression leading up to their deaths.

Feb 7 @ 12:05AM  
That is so sad

Feb 7 @ 9:08AM  
It is entirely possible that he planned this and had the utilities turned off and his mail forwarded. I am fairly certain that the post office, by policy, will notify authorities if there is a build up of mail.

Feb 7 @ 10:58AM  
He did own it? Wow. 41 is young to have had a mortgage paid off...but I guess it can happen if he chose a 15 year mortgage. Ok. Didn't see that in the article when I read it.

Still, 4 years of nobody even wondering? That is really sad.

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Wisconsin man's body found in home 4 years after his suicide