Oblivious Renters Lived With Dead Body for Year
Missing man found behind door under stairs
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2014 10:56 AM CDT
A door under stairs, but not THE door under THE stairs.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Samuel McAlpine had been missing for a year when his ex-wife came to clean the Alaska home the couple had once shared and discovered a foul odor coming from beneath the stairs—a stench that apparently hadn't bugged the tenants who'd spent the last year living there. What she found on Monday: McAlpine's body in a storage space behind a three-foot-tall door, the Anchorage Daily News reports. McAlpine's sister had reported him missing on March 29, 2013 (renters moved into the Eagle River home roughly three days later), after his mother had said her son went on a date and never returned, but police believe they now know what happened.

"What he had done was go back into the home, and he had crawled into the area under the stairwell, a little area under the stairs used for storage, and ... that is where he died," says a police rep. Drugs or alcohol may have been a factor; foul play likely wasn't, per police. As for how the two tenants could have missed the smell, the Alaska Dispatch reports they were both in the military. "I don't know how often they were at the house," the rep explains. "Obviously this would have started to smell relatively quickly. I don't know if they were deployed; I don't have those details."