Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Alone

This story was on the local news a few nights ago, then I found this write-up in The Dallas Morning News on Friday. Sans the "being afraid" and the part about her being "messy and dirty," I could totally relate. I could see myself in her place. I can see how lots of "little" things could easily cumulate into the isolation of one's self. To think that someone so relatively young, got to the point where it all became too much for her that she cuts herself off from people, life, joy. It's all very sad.

However, it also infuriates me that some scumbags apparently saw this as an opportunity to steal from a dead person. The world's in a sad state of affairs.

Woman Lived in Fear and Isolation: After Body Found in House, Cashier Recalls Lonely, Timid Friend

The Dallas Morning News — Denise Eileen Day was afraid to live. She was afraid to go to the grocery store or the movies, a friend said. She was afraid to go outside at night for fear of being bitten by mosquitoes. She was afraid to date because she didn't think anyone would want her. Still, she told the friend she longed to live a happy, healthy life and have a family.

"She wanted to experience life, but she was afraid of taking that leap, I guess," said Jackie Moore, a cashier at the Casa Linda Cafeteria, where Ms. Day was a regular for years. After not hearing from her for more than a year, Ms. Moore learned Wednesday that Ms. Day's life may have taken the most tragic of turns: Police found the mummified body of a woman inside Ms. Day's home.

Although the Dallas County medical examiner's office and police have not positively identified the body, a police report lists the victim as 54 years old, the same age as Denise Day. And residents in the upper-middle-class neighborhood near White Rock Lake are all but certain the dead woman is Ms. Day.

Ms. Moore, 43, said she tried to reach Ms. Day during the last year but to no avail. Dozens of phone messages went unanswered. She dropped by the house in the 9300 block of Mercer Drive several times, but no one came to the door. The last time she saw Ms. Day was in 2004, when she took her grocery shopping. "I'm just really distraught, to tell you the truth," said Ms. Moore, sitting at a table in the cafeteria. "I knew all this time something was wrong."

Dallas police detectives are trying to contact relatives and two women who might have entered the home two weeks ago, said Deputy Chief Alfredo Saldaña, head of the crimes against persons division, which investigates unexplained deaths.

First police report

A neighbor called police Feb. 1 and said the two women arrived in a pickup, entered the home with a key and left with some boxes, according to a police report. But it's unclear who they were. Deputy Chief Jan Easterling, who oversees the northeast division, said a neighbor had called police last April, but no report was made. Other than those calls and one on Wednesday, police have found no other calls concerning the victim or the house.

A report on Wednesday shows that an e-mail request came in about 10 a.m., asking that Ms. Day's home be checked. Jackie Moore, Denise Day's friend, said she knew something was wrong. Later that day, about 3 p.m., an officer entered the two-story home through an unlocked garage door and discovered the mummified body on the floor of a downstairs bedroom.

According to the report, other doors were locked and windows were covered with iron bars. It appeared that the utilities had been turned off, and neighbors said no one had been living there for about a year. Officials with Dallas Water Utilities said service was shut off for nonpayment in April. The last payment received was in January 2005.

Chief Saldaña said detectives are investigating whether the house had been burglarized because the inside was in disarray. Dresser drawers were open, and clothing and newspapers were strewn on the floor. The house was so cluttered that there appeared to be nowhere to walk. "Usually when people live in conditions that are cluttered, there's usually a pathway that they walk though, but this one was hard to determine," Chief Saldaña said.

Chief Easterling said police are also investigating possible burglaries at two other homes owned by the Days. Officers went to the homes in the 2900 block of Rambling Drive in the same neighborhood, but on the other side of Ferguson Road. "There was enough evidence for the officers to make the burglary offenses at both these locations," Chief Easterling said.

Neighbors said that the two houses were burglarized last week. In one incident, a neighbor said that on her way to work, she saw a man crouching in between the two houses, which are side by side. Three days later, another neighbor saw two people taking an antique car from the garage of one of the houses, neighbors said.

Neighbors said the Days bought the two homes 20 years ago but never lived in them and never rented them out, despite paying taxes. According to property tax records, the houses are assessed at about $135,000 each. Post office records show someone asked that mail be forwarded to a post office box in 2004. The box was closed in July.

Cafeteria customer

Ms. Day told Ms. Moore she was an only child, that she'd gone to college and that she had married once, when she was in her 20s. She also said she worked with her father, Glenn Day, who died more than a decade ago. Ms. Moore said she met Ms. Day about 10 years ago. The woman and her mother were regulars at the East Dallas eatery, and Ms. Moore recalled her friend loved to eat brisket, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas and peach cobbler.

At the restaurant, she seldom mingled with other customers and kept to herself. Ms. Moore said her friend was a "sweet, sweet girl" but had a lot of problems and lived a sheltered life. Most of their conversations revolved around Ms. Moore's children and grandchildren. Ms. Day seldom talked about herself. "Seemed like she opened up more after her mother died," Ms. Moore said.

It took her awhile to gain Ms. Day's trust, Ms. Moore said, and even when she did, it was hard for her to get close. Ms. Moore said she'd often suggest that they do things together, but Ms. Day never seemed interested. "She didn't want to bring anybody into her life that way," Ms. Moore said.

Ms. Moore said she tried to set her up with her brother on a date but that Ms. Day never took her up on the offer because she didn't think anyone would find her desirable. She said Ms. Day's house was messy and dirty. Garbage bags were piled up in the kitchen. Stacks of groceries appeared to have been there for years. The walls in one bathroom were covered with mold, and the curtains were falling apart. "The house had been leaking for years," Ms. Moore said.

The city issued a warning for a litter code violation to the house in October, and a citation was issued in November. Because no one cleaned the property after the citation was issued, the city mowed the lawn and sent a bill for the service to the homeowner. City officials said they did not know whether the fines and bills were paid.

Ms. Moore said she didn't know whether Ms. Day had any friends, but she said the woman was very close to her mother, Vivian, who died in 2004. She said she became concerned for her friend after Mrs. Day died because she seemed depressed, physically weak and more reclusive. She said Ms. Day would call her and leave messages telling her, "You're all I have now... I'm lost 'cause I don't have Mom...." Still, Ms. Moore said, her friend longed for a life of her own. "She always talked about wanting to live," she said, "she never talked about wanting to die."

4 Comments:

Anonymous Cheryl said...

Damn, I can completely relate to that woman.

I've resigned myself to the fact that if my husband dies before I do, I'll be one of those people you hear about who are dead for a month before anybody notices.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 7:24:00 AM  
Blogger taarzaan said...

I can't properly express myself about this--it is beyond sad, and well into tragic.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 5:48:00 PM  
Blogger yep, it's me.... said...

i'm a-headed there already strife -

Thursday, February 23, 2006 6:20:00 AM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

Cheryl-
I think a lot of people can, but don't want to admit it. And speaking of your husband dying before you do, I've always found it interesting, and sad at the same time, that 90% of the older people I've known in life, when their spouse died, so did they, shortly after. I always wondered if, as cliched as it sounds, if they did indeed die of "loneliness." Sad.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)

Taarzaan-
I can understand that. It saddens me on so many different levels. To think that a person "lives" this long and then is nothing more than a write-up in the newspaper whose life/death will most-likely never be revisited or remembered. Very sad indeed.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)

Velma-
I'm afraid I am too, Velma. :( I'm so set in my ways/routines, I don't know if I have the patience/interest to do the whole "relationship" thing. Only time will tell.

Thanks for commenting. :)

Saturday, March 04, 2006 1:59:00 PM  

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