The mystery still lingers after the discovery of skeletal remains revealed a terrifying link to a hoarder who was crushed to death by his own trash.
Robert Ellzey, 70, is believed to have suffocated under the weight of his possessions in his unkempt and overgrown home.
Parma Heights police made the gruesome discovery in early March.
“We were alerted by some neighbors in Manorford that Robert Ellzey had not been seen for several days,” Detective Adam Sloan said.
“Patrol officers went there and found Mr. Ellzey dead in his home.
According to neighbors, Ellzey has become more of a closed place due to the harsh winters in the area.
He didn’t have a car or a job and wasn’t visited by family or friends, so it was rare that people ever saw him.
Neighbors added that while Ellzey was strange, he was harmless and only became concerned when his mail started piling up.
On March 2, a welfare check was conducted at Ellzey’s residence, and that’s when responding officers found the man’s lifeless body surrounded by and under his own belongings.
City and county officials, including the health department, fire department and city building department, arrived at the home and determined it was a hazard due to the severe conditions of the hoarding.
Professional cleanup crews worked at the home for two weeks to get rid of all the belongings, neighbors said
Detectives and the medical examiner were working to determine the cause of Ellzey’s death.
“It was positional asphyxiation, which means some things in his house actually trapped him there,” Sloan said.
“After talking to some of the neighbors there were a few grumblings about his mother Lois.
A DOUBLE MYSTERY
Lois Ellzey was born in November 1924, but not much else is known about her except that she owned the house where her son died.
In the late 1980s, city officials took her to court over hoarding conditions at her home, records show.
But there was no death certificate or missing persons report, which begged the question: What happened to Lois Ellzey.
“Some of the neighbors mentioned that Louis may have died almost 10 years ago,” Sloan said.
“We had no concrete evidence of that. No documents or anything to point to a specific date, time or year.”
Sloan added that no missing persons reports had been filed in connection with Lois, prompting an investigation into her whereabouts.
“Even when we started looking for her, when we ran Lois’s information, nothing showed up in our databases showing her as missing.
“To our knowledge, she has never been missing from any of our local agencies. [If she were reported missing, out of state [police reports] he’d show up too.”
Investigators searched for any clues about Lois, but it wasn’t until Memorial Day that another shocking discovery was made.
Brook Park officers were called to a self-storage facility on May 30 for a report of a body found in one of the units.
The strange unit that held the terrifying secret was rented by none other than Robert Ellzey, Sloan said.
A box in a dark corner of the unit contained the skeletal remains of a woman later identified as Lois Ellzey.
“We were told she may have died in 2012. We’re not sure how long she’s been in the unit,” Sloan said.
“This is being investigated by the Brook Park Police Department and we are assisting with the ongoing investigation.”
Where, when and how Lois died is still a mystery as the medical examiner has not determined the cause or manner of death.
Investigators are certain she died ten years ago and neighbors in the area agreed.
But the discovery of Lois’ body has now led to even bigger questions, with many wondering about the woman’s pension benefits which continued to come into the home.
“If mom died, she’s not listed as dead. Why does Social Security keep coming? Why is he still getting his pension checks? That’s obviously what got us to where we are today,” Sloan said.
“It’s hard because Robert isn’t here anymore either. It seems that Social Security and pension funds were still coming in when we found Robert.’
The investigation is still ongoing and much of it has centered around Robert, Sloan said, although detectives have not ruled out anything or anyone.
“This investigation will continue until we have any information,” he said. “Just a crazy turn of events.
No immediate family members of Robert and Lois Ellzey have been identified or located, and it is believed that the two only had each other.