February 15, 2007
Southampton, New York
The mummified remains of Vincenzo Riccardi (70) are found 13 months after his death
Riccardi (sometimes erroneously named as Ricardo by the press) was last seen in December 2005 by a caregiver. Riccardi, who was blind and diabetic, first hired Adriana Molina for basic housekeeping but she also provided other services including assisting Riccardi go to the grocery store and doctor as well as reading his mail to him.
The relationship between Riccardi and Molina eventually crumbled when his violent and paranoid outbursts became unbearable. Riccardi accused Molina of stealing a radio she had given him as a gift, and alleged she was trying to kill him. Finally, Riccardi told Molina — who had three other patients at the time — he was getting a nurse to assist him with his medical conditions and no longer required her services. The two parted ways in December 2005. Not long after, Riccardi passed away from natural causes.
Neighbors called police after noticing a pipe had burst at Riccardi’s residence, covering his garage door in a blanket of ice. The responding officers found Riccardi’s body in a chair, seated upright in front of a television which was still on. Though Riccardi’s electric bills had not been paid, the utilities had not been disconnected. Subsequently, the warm arid air constantly flowing through the home helped mummify his body, preserving his face “like a dried rose,” according to reporter Erika Hayasaki.
Molina has expressed remorse for not being with Riccardi during his final days. She also told reporters she was aware Riccardi had at least one living child, though tensions from an unspecified reason caused Riccardi to be estranged from his son. Additionally, he was not friends with his neighbors. These factors contributed to his death being largely unnoticed for over a year.
Hayasaki, Erika. “Death came, and nobody took notice.” Chicago Tribune. April 5, 2007 (image source, via newspapers.com)
Peddie, Sandra and Enriquez, Susana. “Mummified man found in front of TV, still on.” Los Angeles Times. February 28, 2007