Man buys house and finds previous owner's dead body in basement

An elderly woman's body was found rotting away at her home by a man who had just bought the property.

The body of the 71 year-old woman identified as Nina Fielden, was found in the basement of the home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, when the man "visited to check the property", WKYC reports.

"The person who found Ms Fielden’s body told detectives that he had recently purchased the home through Cuyahoga County as part of a sheriff’s sale," Mike Thomas, Director of Communications and Public Engagement for Cleveland Heights told the local publication. "He told detectives he had visited the site to check on the property."

A photo of the house where an elderly woman's body was found decomposed in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
An elderly woman's body was found decomposed at her home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, after the new owner went to inspect the property. Source: 3News

According to the Cuyahoga County medical examiner, no signs of trauma were found on the woman's decomposing body, with the cause of death and when it happened being further investigated by police.

'We need to check on the elderly'

Many were shocked by the passing of Ms Fielden, who was previously a nurse and nursing educator.

"I’m sick that this caring, educated, dedicated human died alone in a basement and her departure from society was not noted until the house was sold at a sheriffs auction," a former colleague at the Cleveland Clinic commented on Facebook.

"Omg how sad. No one missed her. No family. We need to check on the elderly. RIP Nina!" another said.

Former colleagues in the CCF ER (Cleveland Clinic emergency department) Reunion Group described her as a "dear friend" and being "always helpful".

"Such a cruel end to a beautiful life of service to others," another former colleague said.

"Such a tragedy! Rest in peace Nina and may God bless your family who now has to deal with all of this!!! I am just in shock!," another said.

According to a former colleague who wrote an update on Facebook, the woman’s next of kin were found — a niece and nephew — and a cremation will take place.

What is a Sheriff’s sale?

According to the Australian Justice and Community Safety government website, a sheriff's sale is instigated when a person fails to pay a debt to the court, which in this case led to Ms Fielden’s property being sold.

If the property is empty or the owner's permission is gained, the sheriff may allow the property to be inspected before the auction, however in most cases, it doesn't end up being inspected beforehand.

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