Donate to the Q13 FOX Cares and Les Schwab Holiday Toy Drive

Decomposing body found after toilet leaks, flooding family’s apartment

THORNTON, Colo. – A gruesome situation at an apartment complex forced a Colorado family out of their home, and they might not be able to return for weeks.

A decomposing body was found inside an apartment at the View Point Apartments near 104th Avenue in Thornton. The body was discovered after a toilet flooded the unit and the water seeped into another apartment.

The man's body was lying in several inches of sewage water and police say it had been there for more than a week.

Police believe the man died of natural causes.  The dead man did have a roommate but it is not clear why he didn’t report the death.

That's the part neighbors told KDVR they can't understand.

“Why didn’t that guy tell somebody that his friend died? Like, you’re living with a dead body for that long?” asked Lorae Arellano, a 16-year-old who lives in the apartment across the hall.

The body was discovered Tuesday night, when waste water seeped into the Arellano’s apartment across the hall.

“They said, you know, we’re recommending you guys call a 24-hour crime scene cleanup crew out here to get this water out, because it's contaminated,” said Maelynn Arellano.

Maelynn Arellano said she called building management late Tuesday night to inform them of the issue, but says management didn’t call a cleaning crew until Wednesday afternoon.

“It's extremely contaminated, so I can’t go in my apartment,” Maelynn Arellano said.

When the crime scene cleanup crew arrived, she says they told her her family needed to move out for a week.

“You need to get, for you and your kids, a week’s worth of stuff, medications, paperwork, whatever you need for your infant and for your other daughter and yourself for a week,” she said.

KDVR found out the Arellanos could actually be forced out of their home for a month, or even longer. A restoration crew tearing out the toxic carpet and walls found asbestos and deemed both apartments unsafe.

“I don’t have anywhere else to go. This is my home,” said Maelynn.

Now, the family has only what Larae Arellano was able to grab when crews allowed her to cover her face, hands and feet and rush inside.

Management wouldn't comment on Thursday about the problem or what they are doing to fix it.

The Red Cross did give the Arellanos a voucher for several nights in a hotel but the family is worried about what will happen after that.

As for the body, police say they are not looking at criminal charges for the roommate, who apparently did not call 911.

The name of the dead man has not yet been released. ​