A man in Las Vegas has spent the last four months searching for his missing wife, not having any idea that her body was actually buried amidst the clutter of their home.
The 67-year-old woman, Billie Jean James, was described by her friends as a hoarder who constantly bought small items and knick-knacks from thrift stores. Her husband, Bill, and police had reportedly searched the house on several occasions, even using police dogs to help locate the woman. Apparently, the sheer volume of clutter in the house prevented even the dogs from tracking the scent of the missing woman.
It wasn’t until last Wednesday when Bill James spotted a pair of feet poking from beneath a “floor-to-ceiling pile of junk,” that he released his wife had actually been in their home the whole time.
Although the exact cause of death hasn’t been revealed yet, Dr. David Tolin, a hoarding expert, told the Associated Press that death by hoarding has happened before. “Every year, there’s at least a few deaths that can be attributed to hoarding,” he said.
As horrifying as this story is, if you are a hoarder, don’t fear for your life just yet. Check out TIME’s story on hoarder-recovery.