Harrisburg police find man’s decomposing body in apartment, consider it ‘suspicious’

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Police on Tuesday found a body in a Harrisburg apartment that’s been there for days, and now they’re treating the death as suspicious.

Just how long the body has been in the apartment, police couldn’t say immediately. Acting Capt. Kelly Wetzel said it’s been at least “several.”

It’s enough for the body to start decomposing, and enough for neighbors to start wondering.

“I don’t see how they couldn’t have smelled that,” said Yvonne Purdy, who lives across Zarker Street from the house-turned-apartment at the corner with South 19th Street.

“It smells like death,” she said. “I mean, death got a distinct smell. I worked in hospitals before, so, pretty much smells like death.”

Others in the area say the odor has hung in the neighborhood at least since the weekend. Flies buzzed around the apartment’s open window all day Tuesday.

When police got there just before 10 a.m., they found the body of a middle-aged white man inside, Wetzel said. They think they know who he is, but couldn’t say for sure Tuesday evening.

They’re calling the death suspicious, because of what they call “irregularities” around the scene.

People we talked to said they often heard music coming from the open window.

“He hasn’t lived there that long,” Purdy said, “but I noticed that somebody moved in because of the country music. So it was a new sound that I wasn’t used to hearing around here.”

Others on the block say he’s only been there about a month.

Some officers wore surgical masks as they investigated. They brought out evidence bags and a mattress stained with what appeared to be blood.

The coroner took the man’s body away around 1:45 Tuesday afternoon.

It’s peculiar to neighbors; they say others who live in the house spent the weekend on the porch, right outside the first-floor apartment.

“They’re actually passing by his apartment to get to the laundry area,” Purdy said, “They should have smelled something.”

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of death.

Harrisburg police and the Dauphin County coroner are continuing their investigations.

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