A man was found dead under a deck on Wednesday, turning a 4-year-old’s Easter egg hunt into a horror story. Tara Hanouskova of Knoxville said she had smelled something earlier in the week, but could not figure out where the foul odor was coming from. She told authorities the odor was not consistent or strong, and she assumed it was coming from a dead animal on the premises. Hanouskova had been trying to find the source of the smell for several days, and had repeatedly searched the area to find what was causing it. Earlier in the week, Hanouskova had someone mow the lawn, and had asked them to keep an eye out for whatever might be causing the smell, but the person who cut the grass did not notice anything either.
On Wednesday, the Easter egg hunt she had planned for her son turned into a horror story when Hanouskova noticed a pair of tennis shoes under her deck while hunting for Easter eggs with her 4-year-old. Further investigation revealed the tennis shoes were attached to a corpse, which had been rotting under the deck for a couple of weeks. A spokesperson from Knoxville Police Department, Darrel DeBusk, told reporters that the man had been dead for approximately two weeks. So far, authorities have been unable to identify the body because it was found so badly decomposed that fingerprint identification proved impossible. Authorities do not suspect foul play, as the autopsy revealed that the unidentified man suffered from a medical condition that could have been the cause of his death. DeBusk told the media that the death will be listed as natural causes unless new evidence is revealed in the final autopsy report.
Knoxville police are still working to find out who the man is and why he was under Hanouskova’s deck. Hanouskova was reportedly baffled, saying she “really [does not] even know how the body got there.” The autopsy revealed the middle-aged man had brown eyes and short brown hair, and was about five feet tall, weighing around 170 pounds. Police say he had no tattoos or scars, but further investigation revealed extensive dental work. Police have not been able to discover the man’s identity despite a check against missing persons reports. The body was located 15 to 20 feet in from the edge of the deck, making it difficult to see from outside of the crawlspace.
As the 4-year-old’s Easter egg hunt quickly turned to horror, Hanouskova was able to get her son inside the house before he saw the body. The emergency dispatchers had informed investigators about the sensitive situation before they arrived, sparing Hanouskova’s son any trauma. The police cruisers and fire trucks that responded to the scene reportedly did not use their sirens or flashing lights. Hanouskova expressed her gratitude to reporters saying her son had no idea what had happened because the police “were very respectful.” Hanouskova is at a loss for an explanation of how the unidentified man’s body ended up under her deck, as there was no sign that he had set up shelter there. She expressed her disbelief over the situation saying that the whole experience has been extremely surreal for her quiet neighborhood. The investigation remains ongoing, as police try to identify the man.
By Sandra Pugliese