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Decomposing body found in Mount Vernon apartment building; residents claim landlord ignored complaints

The decomposing body of a 64-year-old man was found Tuesday in an apartment in Mount Vernon, Baltimore police confirmed Thursday.

The man’s name was not released. His body was found with no signs of trauma in a third-floor apartment at 6 E. Read St. about 9:38 a.m., police said. The body was taken to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

It wasn’t immediately clear how long the man had been dead, but “the body had started to decompose,” Detective Chakia Fennoy, a police spokeswoman, wrote in an email.

A tenant on the third floor reported a foul odor in the hallway last week, but maintenance staff did not smell it when they came for a check, said Melody Fairchild, assistant property manager for American Management, which manages the building.

“We checked it out. We didn’t find any smell,” Fairchild said. “There was no cause for concern.”

Then, on Tuesday morning, management received another complaint and maintenance staff knocked on all the doors on the floor, she said.

“We did wellness checks on all the apartments, and that’s when we discovered the body,” Fairchild said.

A flyer hanging in the building said that residents had made “many complaints” for weeks to management about an odor, and alleged “they allowed this issue to go unresolved.” A separate flyer notified tenants that a candlelight vigil is planned at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the stairs outside the building.

Mula Williams, who said he has lived on the first floor since June, said the flyers had been taken down and put back up by a frustrated resident.

The news that a body had been decomposing in an upstairs apartment, despite neighbors complaining, Williams said, “was a little surprising, but not at the same time, because there’s a bunch of things I complained about when I first moved in and they didn’t even reach out to me.”

An attorney for American Management, Michael B. Hamburg, disputed the contention that there had been complaints for weeks, saying that it received two complaints from the same tenant, the first on Feb. 26, seven days before the body was discovered.

Fairchild was matter-of-fact about the experience of finding one of the building’s tenants dead inside an apartment.

American Management has nearly 800 units spread around the city, she said.

“Unfortunately, death is part of life, and tenants die, so it’s not a first-time experience for us,” Fairchild said.

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