A woman had been sleeping next to her dead husband's decomposed corpse for one year until authorities made the grisly discovery this week.
Apparently, 79-year-old "Marcel H." from Liege, Belgium, died back in November 2012 of an asthma attack, according to Carters News Agency. His wife was so upset that she failed to report the death and continued to sleep with the body until Belgian authorities made the bizarre finding on Tuesday, Nov. 19.
They were led to the apartment because the landlord claimed the couple hadn't paid their rent since last year. Neighbors never reported a bad smell. The body had mummified.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW
"A body can mummify in a dry, warm environment," Philippe Boxho, pathologist at the Forensic Center of Liege told Carters. "It takes at least a week to reach such a state. In this case the body had rotten [sic] in the bed [and] his internal organs had melted and liquefied. ... Even though the smell of human decay is quite specific, many people equate that smell to the smell of garbage and once the body has become rotten the smell does decrease significantly."
Although this seems impossible, it has happened before.
Dr. Christian Hansch with the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Antwerp detailed an instance of mummification back in the 1970s. The body of a man who committed suicide in the cellar of his home in Belgium was found mummified 14 months (or 433 days) after his death. Hansch attributed this to the dry and well-ventilated environment.
"In such circumstances, the decomposition process is slowed down, while both drying-up and autolysis of tissues prevail," he wrote in a report detailing the find.
Last year, a Michigan woman was found living with her boyfriend's mummified body months after his death. She had been cashing in his Social Security checks after he died, but she insisted she kept the body simply because she didn't want to be alone. She was later charged with forgery.
GRAPHIC: These photos show decomposition of a human body.