Corpse found under student apartments

After more than a month of complaints from Yale students, a body found last week in a Park St. house has been removed and is being reported as a natural death.

According to residents of the second- and third-floor apartment units at 162 Park St., a corpse in the first-floor apartment unit of their house had been giving off a strong stench since September — an issue that caused them to contact their landlords multiple times, though no actions were taken for several weeks. On the afternoon of Oct. 28, officers from the New Haven Police Department and medical crews dressed in HAZMAT suits arrived at the building to investigate the reports made by Pike on residents’ behalf. There, residents said they found the corpse of an elderly man, believed to be the unit’s former tenant. NHPD Spokesman David Hartman said that he could not comment on the issue because no crime is suspected to have occurred.

Multiple residents of the house, as well as their neighbors, said that they witnessed police officers entering the apartment, and that the officers on the scene confirmed that a corpse had been removed.

“The smell was becoming better due to the cold weather, and it got really bad when [residents] started turning the heat on,” said Hyungmi Lim ’15, a student who was living at the house when the body was discovered and has since moved out. “And this is around the time I discovered maggots coming out of the doorway.”

The apartments in the building are managed by Pike International, a real estate services company that specializes in leasing apartments in the New Haven area to Yale students. When the smell from the first-floor apartment unit became a problem, building residents said they reached out to Pike repeatedly in hopes that the company would send maintenance crews.

Lim said dealing with Pike proved extremely difficult. Attempts by residents to receive temporary housing because of concerns about the smell involved “a lot of pulling teeth,” she said, adding that Pike representatives said it was not the company’s responsibility to give residents new housing, since the death of the first-floor resident could not be attributed to the company.

A Monday night email to all residents at 162 Park St. from Samuel Hecht, a manager at Pike, said that the building’s residents would be allowed to opt out of their lease with no penalty. The email added that if residents chose to continue living in the house, they would be credited one month of rent.

“Unfortunately, the death of [the resident] has disturbed your stay in your home and we are very sorry about this,” Hecht said in the email. “We will have the building cleaned up by an environmental company in the next few days.”

Though the body was finally cleared in late October, the residents of 162 Park St. said that they continue to stay away from the building. Lim, who temporarily moved to a new address along with Carl Runge ’13, another resident of the second-floor apartment, said she is prepared to permanently vacate the apartment once the lease and security deposit with Pike have been dealt with.

No information other than the deceased’s last name — Valuckas — has surfaced. Runge said that neither tenants nor Pike managers of the building were very familiar with the man.

“[Pike has] been unable, for the entirety of his stay in the building, to see his apartment or inspect it for health codes, because he would deny them entry,” Runge said.

Currently, the building is unoccupied, as the second- and third-floor residents all secured alternative temporary housing this week.

Pike’s main leasing office is located at 19 Howe St.

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