Elderly man found dead during welfare check in Auburn Hills

Police: Elderly man found dead during welfare check in Auburn Hills

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Police say a 70-year-old man was found dead inside this home in Auburn Hills. Police say a 70-year-old man was found dead inside this home in Auburn Hills.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (WJBK) -

A 70-year-old man was found dead inside the Auburn Hills home he shared with his son. We're told his body had been there for at least a week.

A 42-year-old man didn't show up to work for a week, so his employer called police. When the cops arrived at the home to do a welfare check, they were shocked at what was inside.

"The son allowed the officers inside and says, 'My dad's in the back bedroom,'" Lieutenant Ryan Gagnon explained.  "The officers went back there and immediately recognized that he was deceased and had been for some time."

There were no obvious signs of trauma, and the death appeared to be due to natural causes. Ken Johnson had been sick for some time, and his 42-year-old son, Craig, was his caretaker.

"The investigation really is looking at did he care for his dad properly, and if he was overwhelmed, why didn't he seek out resources to get help for his dad?" Gagnon said.

Police said the younger Johnson was completely overwhelmed and simply did not know what to do.  At this point, no charges have been filed, but that could ultimately change.

"The son did know his dad was dead, and really it was overbearing for him, the care of his dad.  One of the big questions is why didn't he call the police or the fire department or EMS and report his father deceased or in trouble," Gagnon said.

One of the reasons the son gave police as to why he was overwhelmed was because the filth inside the home was completely out of control.

"It's uninhabitable. He can't live in it at this point in time. We're giving the son an opportunity to clean the home, and once it's cleaned properly, he'll be able to live at the house if he so desires, but it was in bad shape," Gagnon said.

This story is important because there are many people out there in charge of the well-being of their elderly family members.

"If you're watching somebody, you have an obligation to care for them," Gagnon said.  "Once you take on that role, if it's overwhelming to you, [there are] plenty of resources out there to contact for help," Gagnon said.

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