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Answers about a badly decomposing body found in Utah home could be a ways off, police say

Pleasant Grove police entered the home of a man whom code enforcement had been trying to reach for months and found a decomposed body believed to be the man on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018.
Pleasant Grove police entered the home of a man whom code enforcement had been trying to reach for months and found a decomposed body believed to be the man on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018.
Andrew Adams, Deseret News

PLEASANT GROVE — Pleasant Grove police say the mystery of a badly decomposing body found inside a house, where it had possibly remained undetected for as long as a year, will take some time to solve.

On Tuesday, code enforcement officers went to a house at 45 E. 100 North to try and locate the owner to talk about his very unkept yard, according to police. Officers had reportedly been trying to contact the homeowner for months.

But when officials went to the door leading to the room where the body, believed to be a man, was found, there were "suspicious objects" attached to the door, said Pleasant Grove Police Lt. Britt Smith. Based on previous threats the man who lived in the house had made to law enforcement, including some threats involving explosives, a bomb squad was called to the house, he said.

Smith did not go into detail Wednesday about what kind of objects were found hanging on the door. However, he said, "There was no bomb-making materials identified, there were no explosives" in the house.

Additionally, when asked if anything was found in the house that could have caused harm to someone, he said no.

The skeletal remains of a dog were also found in the yard, still chained up.

Although police believe they know the identity of the body, Smith said positively identifying him "will be a challenge." Forensic examiners will have to rely on dental records, he said. But in order to do that, police have to figure out who the man's dentist was and when the last time he saw a dentist may have been.

"It will be a challenge," he said.

Then, police have to find the man's next of kin. Smith said police believe the man has at least one relative, but as of Wednesday police did not know that person's name or much information about that person at all.

When asked how the man could have been dead a year without being found, Smith said the person believed to have died was very reclusive.

"The reports that we're getting is he didn't have any family. So for an individual who doesn't have any family, is very reclusive, has mental health issues ..." he trailed off.

Smith said the man also owned a house in Provo, and neighbors both there and in Pleasant Grove would assume the man was at his other house when they didn't see him for awhile.

Although the death is considered suspicious because of the circumstances surrounding its discovery, Smith said there was no indication that anyone else was involved.