Man's body rots in house for months

29 St. Matthew's Ave., Hamilton, Ont. (Google)

29 St. Matthew's Ave., Hamilton, Ont. (Google)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:21 PM ET

The coroner says a man's body was left to decompose for "probably months" in a Hamilton, Ont., home while three families resided there.

"The body was in a state of significant degeneration," regional coroner Dr. Jack Stanborough said Friday.

Peter Wald, 51, hadn't been seen since January, neighbours told the Hamilton Spectator. And they recalled flies collecting at an upstairs bedroom window. They also recounted seeing people — 13 of them from three families who lived there — praying and dancing in the backyard while wearing robes.

A foreclosure worker, called to evict the residents, found the corpse Tuesday and tweeted "Found my first body. Died in March. Still in house," the Hamilton Spectator reports.

Stanborough said he has called a meeting with the investigators involved in this unusual case to determine if the death warrants an inquest. He also plans to discuss how the smell of the body went undetected for so long.

"I've never gotten used to the smell and I've been doing this a long time," he said.

"Once you smell it, you say, 'OK. I know what that is.' It's a bit mind-boggling."

A photo of the house on Google Streetview, at 29 St. Matthews Ave., shows Wald's blue Astro van parked out front with crosses and scripture written all over it.

Due to the poor condition of the body, Stanborough said it's proving difficult to determine a cause of death but he doesn't suspect foul play.

"There's no obvious criminality involved with this death and there's no threat to public safety involved with this death," he said.

Ontario's Coroners Act says any sudden or unexpected death must be reported to police.

No charges have been laid. Wald's family is reported to have relocated to the Niagara region before the home was foreclosed.


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