You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, May 16, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Police: Man's body found under Ann Arbor stairwell 2 months after death

By John Counts

The body of a man police believe had been dead about two months was found underneath the stairwell of an apartment house in the 500 block of South Forest Avenue Monday, Ann Arbor police said.

The stairwell was not visible to normal pedestrian traffic in or about the building, according to a release from Lt. Robert Pfannes.

The man is believed to have been under the stairwell for several weeks, the release stated. Detectives think the man was homeless because of items found near the scene. There was no identification found on the man.

A preliminary autopsy has revealed there was no foul play, Pfannes said. Police are waiting for toxicology and DNA reports to come back in order to establish a cause of death and the man's identity.

The man is white, approximately 40-50 years old with shoulder-length, thin, graying reddish hair, according to the release. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Michael Dortch at (734) 794-6930 (49311).

View Larger Map

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

Death in a Stairwell: I am surprised to read that the building/property owner has no arrangement to check the property on a regular basis. In the past while I was associated with a Security and Investigations Company, we had checked properties, particularly the stairwell areas to find homeless people who may occupy them during winter months. On several occasions, the University of Michigan Police Department was alerted to evict the person/s from the building( property rented by the University apart from other tenants). It happens as the tenants fail to secure the emergency fire exit doors of the stairwell. This person may have lived there for some time and may have remained there after some medical event. The odor following death could be minimal as he could be very thin, poor nutritional status, and dry environmental condition. Body dries without much decomposition. It is still unfortunate, and the owner must exercise due supervision of the property.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

Now that is some deferred maintainence at that building. I hope the building inspectors get a look around, if the property manager didn't notice that, who knows what else is wrong with that place.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 10:46 a.m.

Dead about two months. Under stairwell for several weeks....

Usual Suspect

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

I think "several" works, and I have argued this with people for years. I consider "several" to be very flexible, from four up to somewhere around eight, nine, ten, etc, which would cover two months, being eight or nine weeks. "One" or "a" describes a single item, "a couple" describes two, "a few" describes three, and "several" goes up from there, but not too far. Somewhere greater than there you get to "a handful" or "a buttoad" or other well-known variants.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

Yep, I wondered about that too. Odd math.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 2:28 a.m.

Normally when they are homeless there is no family to claim them. All the lonely people. Wow. How sad is that? He will go to Potters Field where at least some stranger will remember him.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

So sad to think he probably wasn't even reported missing... Poor guy.

An Arborigine

Thu, May 16, 2013 : 11:58 p.m.

Student housing? The smell wouldn't have provided a clue


Thu, May 16, 2013 : 10:17 p.m.

How could a body go that long undiscovered? Wouldn't there be an odor?

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

my thoughts as well.

Elaine F. Owsley

Thu, May 16, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

How sad to die alone and unknown and unmissed and unfound. Even if it isn't foul play, it's a terrible way to die.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

Mr. Ed, for what it's worth I totally agree with you!


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

Mr. Ed and jns131, for what it's worth I completely agree with you. no one dies alone, when we die God is with us. go ahead and vote me down, I don't apologize for anything I've said.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 2:30 a.m.

Wow. That made me think of that xmas solider story. God yes, was with him. Or his higher power.

Mr. Ed

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 1:48 a.m.

He was not alone. I'm sure jesus was by his side.

John Counts

Thu, May 16, 2013 : 7:53 p.m.

Police also described the man has having only one lower tooth and said there were no dentures found in the area.

music to my ear

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

John said that because, someone may be able to i. d him ,it was not meant to trivialize his death

The Picker

Thu, May 16, 2013 : 11:50 p.m.

I think lost dentures are the least of his worries!