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Saturday, 2 June 2012

Dead Spanish man lay undiscovered at home for up to 20 years

How can this happen in today's society? Do we really have so little contact with those close to us that they can "shuffle off this mortal coil" without us even knowing or seemingly caring?
It's just been reported that the remains of a Spanish man have been found lying in the corridor of his terraced house in the north-western village of Canizal some 20 years after he died. Police looking for clues to the date of Vicente Benito's death point to the fact that the only coins and banknotes they could find in the house were denominated in pesetas, suggesting he had died well before the euro was introduced in 2002.

Spanish pesetas 
The only money found in Vicente Benito's home was in pesetas – replaced by the euro in 2002. Photograph: CBW/Alamy

In fact nobody had seen Benito for almost two decades, though none of his neighbours in the village of 520 people thought there was anything peculiar about him failing to answer his doorbell for so long. They long ago gave up ringing on it, assuming he had moved to neighbouring Portugal. There were rumours he had found a girlfriend, or was working as a shepherd in some other part of the world.

A few people remember being angry that he had left a dog tied to the metal bars across a window that gave straight on to the street, but that was a decade or two ago. The dog was eventually cut loose and taken in by a neighbour, but no one tried to find out if Benito was ill in bed or somehow unable to get of his tiny house.

"We think he was last seen at least 15 years ago, but no one is sure," the mayor, Miguel Angel Herrero, explained. Earlier this week, however, a nephew who lived in the village decided to break into his uncle's house. "They say he wanted to see what had happened to his uncle," a neighbour told the local La OpiniĆ³n de Zamora newspaper.

Well it was about time that someone decided to bite the bullet and try to find out what happened to a family member. What if he hadn't? Poor old uncle Benito could've been there for another 10 years! Perish the thought!

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