|Subject: Well, sadly in the case of the Collyer brothers, Langely was tending to his invalid brother Homer. But when rubbish killed caregiver Langley, Homer starved to death. Authorities discovered invalid Homer's body first, and wasn't until weeks later they found poor ol' Langley. ...
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Date Posted: Saturday, April 03, 01:45:53pm
In reply to:
The whole thing stinks.
's message, "I don't but it either." on Saturday, April 03, 01:04:03pm
Homer's death ...
On March 21, 1947, an anonymous tipster who identified himself only as "Charles Smith" phoned the 122nd Police Precinct and insisted there was a dead body in the house. The caller claimed that the smell of decomposition was emanating from the house. As the police were used to calls from neighbors about the Collyer brothers' home, a patrol officer was dispatched. The responding officer initially had a difficult time getting into the house. There was no doorbell or telephone and the doors were locked; and though the basement windows were broken, they were protected by iron grillwork. An emergency squad of seven men eventually had no choice but to begin pulling out all of the junk that was blocking their way and throwing it out onto the street below. The brownstone's foyer was packed solid by a wall of old newspapers, folding beds and chairs, half a sewing machine, boxes, parts of a wine press, and numerous other pieces of junk. A patrolman finally broke in through a window into a second-story bedroom. Behind this window lay, among other things, more packages and newspaper bundles, empty cardboard boxes lashed together with rope, the frame of a baby carriage, a rake, and old umbrellas tied together. After five hours of digging, Homer Collyer's body was found in an alcove surrounded by filled boxes and newspapers that were piled to the ceiling. Homer was wearing a tattered blue-and-white bathrobe, his matted, grey hair reached his shoulders, and his head was resting on his knees.
The medical examiner confirmed Homer's identity and said that the elder brother had been dead for approximately ten hours. According to the medical examiner, Homer died from starvation and heart disease. Police initially suspected that Langley Collyer was the man who phoned in the anonymous tip regarding his brother's death and theorized that he fled the house before police arrived. It was later discovered that, in fact, a neighbor had called police based on a rumor he had heard. A police officer was posted outside the home to wait for Langley, but he never arrived. Police began to suspect that Langley was dead when he failed to attend Homer's funeral, held on April 1.
Langley Collyer's discovery ...
After the discovery of Homer Collyer's body, rumors began circulating that Langley had been seen aboard a bus heading for Atlantic City. A manhunt along the New Jersey shore turned up nothing. Reports of Langley sightings led police to a total of nine states. The police continued searching the house, removing 3,000 books, several outdated phone books, a horse's jawbone, a Steinway piano, an early X-ray machine, and more bundles of newspapers. More than nineteen tons of junk were removed from the ground floor of the brownstone. The police continued to clear away the brothers' stockpile for another week, removing another eighty-four tons of trash and junk from the house. Although a good deal of the junk came from their father's medical practice, a considerable portion was discarded items collected by Langley over the years. Approximately 2,000 people stood outside the home to watch the clean-up effort.
On April 8, 1947, a workman found the body of Langley Collyer ten feet from where Homer had died. ...
...Langley was found in a two-foot (60 cm) wide tunnel lined with rusty bed springs and a chest of drawers. His decomposing body, which was the actual source of the smell reported by the anonymous tipster, had been partially eaten by rats and was covered by a suitcase, bundles of newspapers and three metal bread boxes. The medical examiner determined that Langley had died around March 9. Police theorized that Langley was crawling through the tunnel to take food to his paralyzed brother when he inadvertently tripped a booby trap he had created and was crushed by debris. His death was attributed to asphyxiation.
Police and workmen removed approximately 120 tons of debris and junk from the Collyer brownstone. Items were removed from the house such as baby carriages, a doll carriage, rusted bicycles, old food, potato peelers, a collection of guns, glass chandeliers, bowling balls, camera equipment, the folding top of a horse-drawn carriage, a sawhorse, three body forms, painted portraits, photos of pin-up girls from the early 1900s, plaster busts, Mrs. Collyer's hope chests, rusty bed springs, the kerosene stove, a child's chair (the brothers were lifelong bachelors and childless), more than 25,000 books (including thousands about medicine and engineering and more than 2,500 on law), human organs pickled in jars, eight live cats, the chassis of the old Model T with which Langley had been tinkering, tapestries, hundreds of yards of unused silks and other fabrics, clocks, fourteen pianos (both grand and upright), a clavichord, two organs, banjos, violins, bugles, accordions, a gramophone and records, and countless bundles of newspapers and magazines, some of them decades old, and thousands of bottles and tin cans and a great deal of garbage. Near the spot where Homer had died, police also found 34 bank account passbooks, with a total of $3,007 (about $39,425 as of 2021).
Some of the more unusual items found in the home were exhibited at Hubert's Dime Museum, where they were featured alongside Human Marvels and sideshow performers. The centerpiece of this display was the chair in which Homer Collyer had died. The Collyer chair passed into the hands of private collectors upon being removed from public exhibit in 1956. The house, having long gone without maintenance, was decaying: the roof leaked and some walls had caved in, showering bricks and mortar on the rooms below. The house was deemed "unsafe and [a] fire hazard" in July 1947 and was razed later that month. Since the 1960s, the site of the former Collyer house has been a pocket park, named for the brothers. ...
Most of the items found in the Collyer brothers' house were deemed worthless and were disposed of. The salvageable items fetched less than $2,000 at auction; the cumulative estate of the Collyer brothers was valued at $91,000 (equivalent to $1,193,094 in 2019), of which $20,000 worth was personal property (jewelry, cash, securities, and the like). Fifty-six people, mostly first and second cousins, made claims for the estate. A Pittsburgh woman named Ella Davis claimed to be the long lost sister of the Collyers. Davis' claim was dismissed after she failed to provide a birth certificate to prove her identity (years earlier, Davis claimed she was the widow of Peter Liebach, another wealthy recluse, from Pittsburgh, who was found murdered in 1937). In October 1952, the New York County court decided that twenty-three of the claimants were to split the estate equally.
Both brothers were buried next to their parents in unmarked
graves at Cypress Hills Cemetery, in the Brooklyn borough. ...