Article written by Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press
DETROIT – At first glance, she thought it was a Halloween prank.
The puffy corpse slumped over the chair had no eyes, nose or mouth – just hair on a skull, and bones sticking out from under a red sweater and plaid pants.
"How sick," Linda Kajma said to herself, before venturing through the rest of the house in search of her missing cousin.
It was Thanksgiving weekend and 80-year-old Sally Honeycheck, who for decades lived in a run-down Detroit neighborhood on Joseph Campau near the Polish Yacht Club, wasn't answering her phone. So Kajma went looking for her, only to discover that her eccentric cousin had been secretly leading a hellish existence, surrounded by filth, rats, feces and mountains of clutter. In the end, it swallowed her whole.
The horrifying figure that Kajma saw in the chair was her cousin.
The best way to stay up to date: The Evening Briefing newsletter brings the night's news directly to you.
Honeycheck, an avid Avon makeup collector who had her hair done weekly and dressed impeccably for church functions, had died alone in the filth of her kitchen, sitting in a nylon blue lawn chair under a picture of the Last Supper. She was surrounded by garbage a foot deep – empty sardine cans, stacks of greeting cards, take-out bags, burned-out appliances and dirt-stained walls.
She had been eaten by her dog and rats.