A few months after a man went missing, his body was discovered inside his own house, prompting an Illinois coroner to investigate and determine what happened.

Jennifer Maedge reported her 53-year-old husband, Richard Maedge, missing on April 27, 2022. Richard, who lived in Troy, Illinois, which is part of the St. Louis metropolitan area in neighboring Missouri, was later found deceased by his widow on December 11, 2022, according to the Troy Police Department.

According to Jennifer Maedge’s statement to the police, the last time she spoke with her husband was the day before he went missing. He had called her to inform her that he was leaving work early. However, he did not return home that day, leaving behind his wallet, keys, and car.

“The case is still under investigation by the Troy Police Department and the Madison County Coroner’s Office,” the department said the day after the sad find in a statement reported by local Fox affiliate KTVI. “An autopsy has been scheduled for a later date and time.”

“I decided to put the Christmas tree up, and I was looking for a tote of Christmas ornaments, and that’s when I discovered him,” Jennifer Maedge told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He had committed suicide.”

At first, law enforcement did not reveal the location where the body of Richard Maedge was discovered. Additionally, Troy Police Chief Brent Shownes declined to comment on the state of Richard’s remains. However, there was no evidence of any wrongdoing involved.

“He will be deeply missed,” Jennifer Maedge told KTVI at the time. “Even though we didn’t want the outcome that we had, it’s still an outcome that we can, you know, put him to rest.”

The man’s sister, however, was incensed that law enforcement failed to find her brother.

“I need answers from the police chief,” Marilyn Toliver told the Post-Dispatch. “I need answers from the mayor. How is this even possible? Mistakes were made, and I want answers. If it means filing a complaint and going all the way to the governor, I will. I’m not going away. I’m just now beginning to say stuff out loud. I should have been screaming from the beginning, but I was suckered in by the police department saying they were doing their job and looking for him.”

Now, several months later, Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn has confirmed that the long-missing man died by suicide. The lack of foul play was also confirmed and he had no other injuries, the coroner said.

Richard Maedge was found inside a concealed closet area. According to his widow, she only found him after going to retrieve Christmas decorations for the upcoming holiday. According to the coroner’s office, his body was in a mummified state, Madison County Chief Deputy Coroner Kelly Rogers told KTVI earlier this month.

That state of mummification is likely why the body lacked a strong odor and took so long to be found, Rogers reportedly said.

Despite initial reports of a lack of odor, authorities have clarified that there was indeed a strong odor emanating from the Maedge residence. The police noted a “sewer-like” smell during their first search of the property, which was described as a “hoarder home” by Rogers. Jennifer Maedge even called the police a second time to report the strange smell, but they found nothing on their second search.

A third search was conducted with the assistance of cadaver dogs, as mentioned by Troy Police Chief Brent Shownes to the Belleville News-Democrat. However, the cause of the odor was eventually discovered by a plumber contacted by Jennifer Maedge. The plumber determined that the smell was caused by sewer gas and capped a sewage pipe in the basement, which eliminated the odor.

The deceased was remembered fondly by his family.