Another one bites the dust

Yonks ago I wrote about Eunice Lydia Burwell-Workman, a compulsive hoarder who was missing for years before she turned up buried under a pile of crap in her own house. Well, here’s another one. Billie Jean James was missing for four months. As the article says,

It wasn’t until this week that Bill James noticed his 67-year-old wife’s feet sticking out from under a pile that the search came to an end…”For our dogs to go through that house and not find something should be indicative of the tremendous environmental challenges they faced,” police spokesman Bill Cassell told The Associated Press.

The AP article provides more info on the James family home:

In the driveway sits two huge trash bins that require industrial-sized trucks to haul them away. The front patio is filled with knickknacks including old chairs, smaller trash bins and a 10-foot basketball hoop.

Inside, Cassell said James’ piles of clutter left just small pathways to walk and strong odors that hindered their search — generated by animals, decomposing garbage, food, clothes and other stuff.

“If there had been any indication that there was a remote possibility that somebody was back underneath that stuff we would have taken the appropriate action,” Cassell said.

Sari Connolly, who walked dogs with James and her husband daily at a nearby park with a group of friends, said the woman bought things at thrift stores each day and accumulated them in the house.

I have a compulsive hoarder in my own family and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she meets with a similar fate someday.

7 thoughts on “Another one bites the dust

  1. danielle August 28, 2010 / 8:25 pm

    the only good thing is with tv shows like “Hoarding: Buried Alive” more people are getting educated that it’s a sickness not a sign of laziness. A sickness that needs treatment. I can’t imagine dying all alone and not being found for months. It’s a sad situation.

    • Meaghan August 28, 2010 / 8:32 pm

      Unfortunately, my relative refuses to admit she has a problem.

  2. Princess Shantae August 28, 2010 / 9:14 pm

    Okay, so maybe the woman was a hoarder who needed help but her husband? If he was not a hoarder, then what’s his excuse for letting their home get like that? Having a lot of flea market crap is one thing, but having rotten food and garbage and bad smells around? That’s just nasty to let somebody do that to your home.

    • Meaghan August 28, 2010 / 9:33 pm

      My relative thoroughly dominates her husband. He can’t do ANYTHING. She once threw a screaming fit because had had made a dental appointment FOR HIMSELF without consulting her. I was there.

  3. marycarney August 28, 2010 / 9:26 pm

    My late MIL was *this close* to living like that. Fortunately (I suppose) she lived on a farm with two huge barns. When she died, it took us the largest, semi truck sized dumpster we could rent, and even then, we had to take some stuff off because we piled it so high.
    Her file cabinet alone took me several days. She died in 1999, and I found reciepts for license plates for several DeSoto cars (which they stopped MAKING in the 50s) and a freezer she bought in 1947. (I also found several hundred dollars, and passbooks from savings accounts none of us would have known about)

  4. vanessanicple21 August 30, 2010 / 1:29 am

    I had a feeling you would discuss this because of the old Eunice Burwell-Workman story you talked about a long time ago. I can’t fathom someone surrounding their house with mountains full of thrift store crap, but I once had an uncle who was a hoarder and had a whole room full of old record albums, books about old TV shows, video tapes of prerecorded sitcoms, journals, sketchbooks, thrift store crap, ect. He died of an aneurysm and finally years after he died my grandma let me go through his room and take the stuff I wanted (all I took were the record albums and some books). He practically lived in his little bitty room 24/7 in his mom’s house and he was only 36 when he died. She didn’t even realize he was dead till like two days after he had died. So, he didn’t die by being suffocated by all the junk, but I believe this lifestyle leads to a very low mortality rate.

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