February 22, 2018
The body of Charles “Chuck” Frary (68) is found in his home, a year after his children reported him missing
Chuck had become estranged from his family, with his children citing physical and emotional abuse as the cause of the distancing. Despite the estrangement, the children would occasionally visit their father, though they were never permitted into his home. “You go to his house; you’d knock on the door,” Kevin Frary explained to 9News reporters. “He comes out, he doesn’t let you in the house, so we didn’t know he was living as bad as he was, really.”
Chuck’s children were somewhat aware of the extent of his hoarding, and his daughter Susan Frary accompanied him to counseling. “They tried to work with him and throw a piece of paper away in the garbage,” Susan recounted, “and he got really bad anxiety and he couldn’t do it — and it was a McDonald’s bag or something. He had ADHD. He had the hoarding. The anxiety. The depression. And then OCD. OCD was a big one.”
Neighbors became concerned for Chuck’s safety after he had not been seen for months, with the last person to remember seeing him estimating the encounter had been in October of 2016. On February 4, 2017, a neighbor called 911 to report the possibility of a deceased person in Chuck’s home. “I’d hate for a year to go by and someone discovers this guy is dead — this guy died in his house,” the neighbor prophetically told dispatchers.
Police reports indicate officers were unable to enter Chuck’s home because the doors had been barricaded with debris. “The fire department pushes it open further enough so that an officer can kind of crawl inside and do a cursory look through,” Denver Police Cmdr. Barb Archer explained to reporters. “The situation was extremely bad.”
On the night of February 13, 2017, a man identified as one of Chuck’s neighbors visited Brian Frary’s door. “He knocked on my door like at 9 o’clock at night,” Brian recalled. “It was weird. He just said he was a neighbor of my dad’s they haven’t seen him in months, so they thought he was missing.” Brian and his brother Jeff Frary visited the house to investigate after calling police.
“When I first went in I was in shock,” Kevin said. “I can’t believe he didn’t come to us and say ‘Hey, help me.’ Any one of us would have taken him in a second if we knew he was living like that.”
A missing persons report was filed on February 14, and police returned to Chuck’s house. “The family members and the officers kind of crawled through the house a bit,” Cmdr. Archer told reporters. “[Police] weren’t able to get deep inside the residence, again, due to the amounts of trash and piles of debris.”
The Frary siblings searched the house in February, including the living room where their father’s body was eventually discovered, but the search proved fruitless. They searched again in March with similar results. “We go there and we look,” Jeff stated during an interview, “and we say ‘he’s not here’ and then we start searching everywhere else. Again that’s where they say they found him — he wasn’t there that day in our opinion.” Jeff also mentioned, “If he was [there], he was 100 percent, completely buried.”
On July 26, 2017, a detective wrote of Chuck’s house, “This residence may contain a deceased man, and I’d like to address it as soon as possible.” Three months later, on October 26, 2017, the police and health inspectors entered Chuck’s house again. “At the time of the site visit we were really able to establish scope and severity of the house,” Danica Lee, the director of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, told reporters. “And I have to say it’s one of the most severe hoarding cases that we’ve investigated.” The health inspectors decided they would need to return with more protective equipment and left Chuck’s house.
Documents showed the department “reviewed and ordered” the protective equipment on February 16, 2018. On February 22, they entered the home once again and sifted through the debris for approximately 30 minutes before finding Chuck’s body, over a year after he was reported missing.
Chuck’s body had been mummified and, as such, the medical examiner was unable to determine his cause of death.
“There have been so many weird things with this whole case. What happened to him? And how did he die?” Susan pondered during an interview. “The whole thing is heartbreaking. But it did bring a little closure to everything because we had been searching for a year, and we’re finally — for me it was a big thing to finally put him to rest.”
On February 12, 2019, Chuck’s house was demolished. And as of 2019, the investigation into his death is open and active. “We are continuing to have the case open,” Chief Paul Pazen stated. “If evidence of a crime comes forward, years from now, it protects the integrity of the investigation.”
If you or a loved one experiences hoarding and would like help, please contact 1-800-HOARDERS (within the United States), or refer to the sources available at the International OCD Foundation.
Jojola, Jeremy and Wilcox, Katie. “Why it took 383 days to find a man dead in his own living room.” KTVB. Accessed: February 22, 2021. https://www.ktvb.com/mobile/article/news/investigations/blame/why-it-took-383-days-to-find-a-man-dead-in-his-own-living-room/73-557226840
Jojola, Jeremy. “1 year later: Site of record hoarding case demolished, death investigation remains open and active.” 9News. February 25, 2019. Accessed: February 22, 2021. https://www.9news.com/article/news/investigations/blame/1-year-later-site-of-record-hoarding-case-demolished-death-investigation-remains-open-and-active/73-970b09c1-5331-4c53-8037-b3b39f39b1e6
Jojola, Jeremy. “BLAME 2: A year after he was reported missing, Denver man found dead in own living room.” WZZM. September 18, 2018. Accessed: February 22, 2021. https://www.wzzm13.com/article/syndication/podcasts/blame-2-a-year-after-he-was-reported-missing-denver-man-found-dead-in-own-living-room/69-595902453
Jojola, Jeremy and Wilcox, Katie. “Denver man reported missing 383 days before his body was found buried under debris in his own home.” 9News. June 7, 2018. Accessed: February 22, 2021. https://www.9news.com/article/news/investigations/blame/denver-man-reported-missing-383-days-before-his-body-was-found-buried-under-debris-in-his-own-home/73-556843117
“Denver police launch death investigation after body is found in home.” FOX31. February 23, 2018. Accessed: February 22, 2021. https://kdvr.com/2018/02/23/denver-police-launch-death-investigation-after-body-found-in-home/