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Debris crushes hoarder in Connecticut home

| Sunday, June 15, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

CHESHIRE, Conn. — A 66-year-old woman described by police as an apparent hoarder was found dead under a pile of debris when the first floor of her Connecticut home collapsed into the basement under the weight of all the clutter, authorities said.

Police in Cheshire identified the woman as Beverly Mitchell. Her body was found in her home on Saturday, two days after a postal carrier called police to request a welfare check because her mail had been piling up for at least a week.

Police Sgt. Kevin O'Donnell said officers went to the house on Thursday but didn't find anyone and thought Mitchell was not home.

The first floor had stacks of clutter to the ceilings along the walls and waist-high piles in other areas, and officials didn't realize until Friday that the floor had collapsed, O'Donnell said.

After making sure the building was safe to enter, officials cut a hole in the side of the house and began removing debris with a backhoe.

Police had been to Mitchell's house many times over the years responding to requests for welfare checks by neighbors and other people, O'Donnell said.

Officers had offered her help from local social service experts, but she refused each time, he said.

“It's unfortunate, because ... we've tried all along to get her assistance, but she was a very private and solitary lady,” O'Donnell said Sunday.

O'Donnell said officials did not realize the extent of the clutter in the home until they went inside.

Police were still trying to find relatives of Mitchell.

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