Hoarders Beware: Connecticut Woman Killed by Weight of Her Own Clutter

Hoarders Mental Health Mental Illness Clutter
Hoarders, take note: Beware of allowing clutter to accumulate to the point where it could kill or literally bury someone alive. As a Connecticut woman discovered, clutter can literally kill. The woman was found dead on Saturday buried beneath the weight of her own clutter. The message being hoarders beware: excessive clutter could kill.

Beverly Mitchell, 66, had been hoarding inside her Cheshire, Connecticut home for years when the first floor of her home collapsed into the basement because of the weight of the ceiling-high clutter she had collected. Mitchell’s postal carrier noticed on Thursday her mail was piling up and notified police and social services, who performed a welfare check.

When authorities arrived, they could not access the residence through any of the home’s entryways, so they were forced to cut through the side of the house to enter the clutter-filled residence on Thursday. However, they were unable to locate Mitchell and were not aware the floor had collapsed until Friday. Authorities had to sift through so much junk and debris they were not able to locate Mitchell’s body until Saturday. Turns out, police officers had repeatedly offered to get the Connecticut woman assistance from social workers, but she refused each offer. Instead, she chose to live in the dangerous, dilapidated home that ultimately claimed her life.

The case of the Connecticut woman, Beverly Mitchell, killed by the weight of her own clutter should serve as a wake-up call for hoarders to beware. However, this is not the only recent case of a hoarder being buried under their own junk. In a similar incident in March 2013, a hoarder in Texas was killed and buried underneath what authorities called a ’10 foot wall of trash.’ Emergency services spent several days trying to extract his body from the debris.

Police determined a continued search of the Mitchell residence without proper equipment was unsafe. The local fire, health, and building departments were notified, along with the state Department of Emergency Management. After the structure was secured, Mitchell’s body was found Saturday morning in the basement under a pile of clutter from the collapse of the floor in the room above. The preliminary investigation showed the collapse likely occurred a week to 10 days earlier. The chief medical examiner’s office will be performing an autopsy to determine time and exact cause of death.

Neighbors stated Mitchell was rarely spotted leaving her home and stopped driving several years ago. Mitchell’s two cars remain in her driveway and both were found almost entirely filled with packages, mail, and other paper items. The residents were quite surprised by the state of Mitchell’s home, since Cheshire is a wealthy town and neighbors look out for each other. Over the years, neighbors would offer to mow Mitchell’s lawn in the warm months and shovel the driveway during winter. Alas, Mitchell would always decline. She was described as very independent and ‘would take care of things herself.’

The 66-year-old Mitchell, a Connecticut woman who was killed by the weight of her own clutter and whom police and neighbors described as a recluse, was pronounced dead at her home in the affluent community of Cheshire, Connecticut. The death appears to be accidental and could serve as a wake-up call for hoarders to beware. The message being hoarders beware: excessive clutter could kill. As of Sunday, the state Medical Examiner’s Office has not officially identified Mitchell and could not release information on the cause and manner of her death until an autopsy was completed. Cheshire police are investigating the incident and were still trying to locate Mitchell’s next-of-kin on Sunday. Town officials will determine whether or not the house should be demolished.

By Leigh Haugh

Fox CT
Opposing Views
Detroit Free Press

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