18 Stories

'Rocket Scientist' Hoarder Killed in NYC Fire

82-year-old teacher was beloved by former students

(Newser) - A "tremendous amount of clutter" prevented firefighters from reaching an 82-year-old who died in a house fire Monday in New York City. Firefighters responded to the blaze at the two-story home in Jamaica, Queens, around 6:30pm but encountered items "piled three to four feet high and throughout,... More »

Woman Found Living With Sister's Decomposing Body

Authorities say she may have been doing so for up to 18 months

(Newser) - A 74-year-old Massachusetts woman may have been living with the decomposing body of her sister for up to 18 months, possibly without even realizing her sister was dead, the Brookline TAB reports. According to the Boston Globe , Lynda Waldman lived alone with her 67-year-old sister, Hope Wheaton, in the $1.... More »

276 Dogs Found Living in Horrific Hoarder Home

They were under beds, on bookshelves, and in the walls

(Newser) - At least 276 dogs have been rescued from a single 1,880-square-foot home in what one New Jersey official calls "the worst hoarding case that we've ever experienced," the Asbury Park Press reports. The problem was discovered Thursday by an animal control officer called about a loose... More »

Elderly 'Hoarder' Dies in Blaze in Messy Home

Firefighters had trouble getting through entrance of Calif. woman's house

(Newser) - It was so cluttered in a home that caught fire last night in Carlsbad, Calif., that firefighters couldn't even get inside at first—and once they did, it was too late to save the elderly woman who lived there, NBC 7 reports. The unidentified woman, said to be in... More »

Mom Hid Kids, Living and Dead, From Boyfriend: Cops

3 dead infants found in Erika Murray's squalid Mass. home

(Newser) - Erika Murray may or may not be the mother, but an investigation into the squalid conditions of her vermin-infested home in Massachusetts last week has unearthed a tragic discovery: the bodies of three deceased infants. That discovery comes on the heels of one made in late August, when state welfare... More »

Grisly Find in Hoarder Home: Mom's Mummified Remains

Daughter says she didn't report the death because of home's condition

(Newser) - A woman who appears to be a reclusive hoarder in an upscale neighborhood in Gilbert, Ariz., didn't call the cops when her 98-year-old mother died in 2010. Janet Pallone Delatorre says "she 'panicked' and believed police would think Janet killed her based on the condition of the... More »

Hoarder Dies When First Floor Collapses

Conn. woman buried under junk she collected

(Newser) - A Connecticut woman died under the junk she had spent many years amassing when the weight of it all caused her home's first floor to collapse. Police found the body of 66-year-old Beverly Mitchell on Saturday after a letter carrier warned that mail had been piling up at her... More »

Body of Hoarder Found in Home After 5-Day Search

Dallas authorities had to cut holes in the roof

(Newser) - Police showed up at Skip Bynum's house in Dallas last Saturday after his friends reported that the 67-year-old was missing. It wasn't until Thursday that searchers finally found his body amid decades of junk he had hoarded over the years, reports MyFox Dallas . In fact, the piles were... More »

Hundreds of Dying Snakes Found in 'House of Horrors'

Rodents had turned cannibal inside Calif. hoarder's home

(Newser) - A horrific find in California as China's Year of the Snake draws to a close: Santa Ana police discovered hundreds of dead and dying snakes in the home of a teacher who moonlighted as a snake breeder, reports the Los Angeles Times . The 53-year-old man was arrested on charges... More »

28 Years Later, Dead Wife Found in Hoarder's Home

JoAnn Nichols' murdered body was behind basement wall

(Newser) - With seven Dumpsters full of clutter in his backyard, neighbors in Poughkeepsie, NY, knew James Nichols had a hoarding problem—but they didn't know he was hoarding the body of his own murdered wife. The body of JoAnn Nichols, a first-grade teacher who was reported missing in December 1985,... More »

Task Forces Tackle Dangerous—and Disgusting—Hoarding

California team has been trained to fight gag reflex

(Newser) - How'd you like to spend your days walking on piles of newspapers soaked with rat urine, helping hoarders clear their houses of not just junk but often gross junk, from mildewed papers to bottles of urine? That's what the members of California's Orange County Task Force on... More »

Why Hoarders Can't Let Go

Decision-making parts of their brains go into 'overdrive'

(Newser) - If you've ever watched A&E's Hoarders and wondered what makes it so hard for the show's subjects to throw away their clutter, a new study may have an answer for you. Researchers scanned the brains of 43 people with the hoarding disorder and compared them to... More »

More Than 200 Chihuahuas Taken From Hoarder Home

'Numerous dead dogs found': AP

(Newser) - More than 200 Chihuahuas have been removed from what officials are calling unsanitary conditions in a central Pennsylvania home. The state Agriculture Department said late yesterday that dog wardens cooperating with state police executed a search warrant at the home in Benton, in Columbia County, after receiving numerous tips. They... More »

Hoarders' Kids Grapple With Messy Pasts

Some rarely return to childhood homes, face rifts with parents

(Newser) - Growing up with parents who hoard can mark a child for life—whether they’re compulsively neat, embarrassed to have friends over, or end up hoarders themselves. It can also lead to rifts between kids and parents, the New York Times learns in a series of interviews. “They grew... More »

1K Rats Found in Hoarder's Home

And you thought you needed to clean your closet out...

(Newser) - Close to 1,000 rats have been rescued from a Los Angeles man's home featured on A&E's reality show, Hoarders. The Humane Society has relocated the rats to San Jose, where they are being temporarily housed at a pet shop until they can be adopted. A previous owner's daughter... More »

Why We're Obsessed With Hoarders

The destructive behavior is eerily familiar to many

(Newser) - The world is fascinated with "hoarders," thanks to the A&E cult hit of the same name. Like A&E's surprisingly effective Intervention, Hoarders aims to—and in many cases does—change the behavior of its subjects. But in addition to shedding light on the phenomenon, the show... More »

Missing Woman Found Dead, Buried Under Junk in Home

Even the search dogs couldn't find her

(Newser) - Something to think about the next time you don’t feel like cleaning out the garage: A missing Las Vegas woman was found after four months…dead in her own home, buried underneath piles of junk. Bill James alerted authorities when his wife Billie Jean, 67, went missing, but even... More »

Old Couple Found Buried Alive in Trash

Trapped in garbage for days

(Newser) - An elderly Chicago couple was found, alive, buried beneath mounds of trash in their two-story home. The neighbors called police after they hadn't spotted the couple, both in their 70s, for days. Responding firefighters in Hazmat suits entered the home to find the couple covered in rotting food and other... More »

18 Stories