Family lived with dead father for almost a month before noticing

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Family lived with dead father for almost a month before noticing

The death of a 65-year-old man in Busan shocked the nation when police said Wednesday that he was found, nearly a month after he died, in the same house where his wife and three children lived.

The man’s brother-in-law, who dropped by the house Tuesday evening, found the man lying motionless in his room and called the police.

Police said there were no wounds on the dead body, which lowers the chance of homicide. The cause of his death could not be immediately known, however, because the body had severely decomposed by the time officers arrived at the scene.

His family claimed they didn’t know he had died. His wife said she smelled something rotting in the house and that for several days there was an overwhelming amount of flies, as well, which is why she called her brother to come and take a look.

When the wife’s brother opened the door leading to her husband’s room, the dead man was found lying on the floor, his head resting on a pillow as if he were asleep.

Police said they would send the body to forensic officials today for an autopsy to check whether he had been suffering from any illnesses.

The house in which the dead man, surnamed Lee, was living is a single-story building with two separate entrances, one for each side of the house. On one side lived Lee with his 37-year-old son, and on the other side lives Lee’s 61-year-old wife, surnamed Kim, and their two daughters, ages 35 and 39.

Nobody in the family had a job. The family was living off Lee’s pension, which he received after he retired from working as a janitor at a tourist destination in Busan three years ago. They also owned a two-story house nearby and were collecting monthly rent from another family living there under a lease contract.

During police questioning, Lee’s family claimed they kept their distance from the dead man due mainly to his drinking problems. He was a heavy drinker, and when he got drunk, he would scold them. His son, who lives in a room right beside his, suffers from diabetes, which affects his eyesight. The son barely comes out of his room, his family said.

Lee’s eldest daughter used to bring her father food every day and leave it in front of his room. But a month or two ago, she stopped the daily ritual after hearing from Lee that he would no longer eat. Lee said he was beginning a special prayer that would enable him to live to the age of 126.

BY HWANG SUN-YOON, LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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