A New York man who died last year at the age of 82 was keeping more than just junk in his home; the so-called hoarder was also hiding his wife’s dead body behind a false wall in the basement.
James Nichols claimed over 30 years ago that his wife, JoAnn, left her car in the parking lot of a mall and left him a typed note before she disappeared, never to be seen again. She was initially reported missing by a friend after she failed to show up for an appointment at a local salon. Nichols told police that he spoke to her briefly on the phone three days later, and that was the last he’d heard from her.
However, neighbors and friends of JoAnn’s thought there was foul play afoot and could never prove it.
“Ultimately, we all said he did it,” neighbor Delores Casella told the Poughkeepsie Journal. “We automatically all said that, ‘He did something with her.’ He just had a creepy feeling about him.”
Nichols was a compulsive hoarder who kept several dumpsters full of junk in his backyard and was rumored to drive around town with a dummy sitting in the front seat. Could it have been an attempt at making people think his wife had come back to him? Unfortunately, answers aren’t forthcoming. The body was only found because the house, which had been condemned since Nichols’ death in December, is about to go up for sale. A contractor made the discovery.
An autopsy is underway on the body.