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Crew finds body while tearing down West Baltimore vacant house: 'It’s sad, but it’s the norm'

A demolition crew working to tear down a vacant house in West Baltimore found a dead body among the debris, a police spokeswoman said.

Det. Nicole Monroe said police responded to the 1300 block of N. Calhoun Street around 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, and the medical examiner was sent to the scene.

Hours after the discovery, the crew continued to rip down the old rowhouse, which was next to two other boarded-up homes. About a block away, students from William Pinderhughes Elementary/Middle School ran around outside.

Nelson Johnson, 56, sat on his aunt’s stoop and watched the debris come down. He heard about the body on Facebook, and wanted to see what happened in his Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood for himself.

When Johnson arrived, he said the body was laying on the sidewalk. It was clear to him that the man had been dead awhile — he guessed about a week.

Over the last decade, Johnson said he’s lost count of how many dead bodies get pulled out of vacants in his neighborhood.

“It’s a norm to me,” he said. “It’s sad, but it’s the norm.”

He said he wishes the city would rehabilitate the vacants and allow low-income families to live in them. A recent Baltimore Sun investigation found the city has struggled to put a dent in the number of blighted homes in Baltimore.

“The city just leaves them here, rotting,” Johnson said. “People die in them. It’s sad, but it’s the way Baltimore is.”

trichman@baltsun.com

twitter.com/TaliRichman

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