7 days later, body found

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

BIG SANDY, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas man is found dead in his home days after his death. And, police are taking a interest in this case because the man's common law wife never let anyone know something was wrong. Police say a strong odor coming from an apartment on Hillcrest Manor off MacDonald Avenue in Big Sandy led neighbors to call police. But, the story begins much earlier than that!

When police entered the home they found the decomposing body of 50-year-old William Drake laying on the sofa in the living room. Investigators think Drake may have been dead for seven days.

"[I have] seen a lot of cases where the body has been there for a long time but I've never worked a case where the person was living with the body," said Lt. Vance Van Burr, with Big Sandy Police.

Investigators say his 45-year-old common law wife was going about "business as usual," keeping house and taking care of the couple's dog.

"She had some obvious mental disorders," explained Van Burr. "We don't have knowledge whether she was talking to him or not, but we do have knowledge interviewing the neighbors that she was in and out of the residence on a regular basis taking the dog for a walk and spending the night there."

The smell of death was pungent in the apartment unit where there had been natural deaths several times before, according to neighbors, but what happened this time is something they simply couldn't believe.

"I thought it was unreal 'cause I knew that I had seen her in and out," said Monte Starr, the next door neighbor. "I didn't recall the last time I had seen him."

Drake was a dialysis patient but had recently stopped the treatment. The woman has reportedly told police that Drake did not want to leave the house, something to took literally.

"It amazed me," said Wilma Palmer, a neighbor. "I didn't know it, I went, 'Oh, I didn't know that.' At first I thought it was her but it wasn't her, it was him."

The death has been ruled natural, and no autopsy has been ordered. The woman, whose name has not been released, was taken for a psychiatric evaluation. If found mentally competent, she could have faced charges of improper disposal of a body.

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