Share This Page

Long-dead man found in Tarentum high-rise

| Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, 3:23 p.m.

The body of an elderly Tarentum man who may have been dead for weeks was found on Thursday inside his apartment in a public housing high-rise.

Nicholas Cognito, 79, was found inside his locked, third-floor apartment in Rachel Carson Hall, Second Avenue at Wood Street, said Allegheny County Public Housing Authority police Chief Mike Vogel.

According to Tarentum police, two officers and an Eureka Fire Co. paramedic entered the apartment on Thursday at the request of the housing authority after an employee who was checking on Cognito's welfare found his body.The police report said the man was in the living room and had been dead for quite some time.

Vogel and Tarentum police said there was no indication of foul play.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office is reviewing the situation.

Several Rachel Carson Hall neighbors, none of whom would allow their names to be used, said Cognito had been a U.S. Marine and was hard of hearing.

Vogel said Cognito had lived at Rachel Carson Hall, which has 60 efficiency and one-bedroom units, for about 10 years.Numerous residents said on Friday that they had not seen Cognito recently and were dismayed he hadn't been found sooner.

Vogel said a building manager and a maintenance employee entered the apartment about three weeks ago after a request was made to check on his welfare.

“He wasn't there,” Vogel said.

Vogel said the authority, in order to preserve privacy rights, can't by law enter an apartment without a legal reason.After that previous check, packages began to pile up at the man's door, but officials said a relative or friend took them away for safekeeping.

One man said he thought Cognito was a patient in a Veterans' Administration hospital.

On Thursday, after some additional complaints were made about an “unusual odor,” the authority asked borough police to check, Vogel said.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.