HELSINGIN SANOMAT international

Mummified body 6 years in Helsinki apartment


The body of a man was found in an apartment in the Maunula district in the north of Helsinki on Friday. Police believe that the man had been dead for more than six years.
   A maintenance man who entered the apartment to install a fire alarm and who was confronted by the stench of death and piles of uncollected mail alerted the police, who found the mummified body in the apartment.
   The retired man, who lived alone was 55 years old at the time of his death. He had children living in the Helsinki region.
   According to police inspector Kari Tolvanen, the death does not seem to involve any criminal activity, but forensic tests would be conducted to find out more.
   According to police, the man's rent was paid by the Helsinki social welfare office, and the Social Insurance Institution KELA paid him a regular pension. However, officials at the Maunula social welfare office cannot understand how the rent could have been paid for six years without a single meeting with the man.
   Kari Tolvanen says that it is not uncommon for a body to remain unclaimed in an apartment in Helsinki for up to two or three months. At this point, authorities are often alerted by neighbours complaining about the smell, or by family members who enter the home. Before this case, the previous record had been a body that had remained undiscovered for a year and a half after death.


Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 18.4.2000

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