Dead Daughter’s Belongings Dumped – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
(WSVN) – Their 21-year-old daughter was found dead in her apartment, and before the family could even hold church services, the landlord emptied the unit and dumped everything in a landfill. Devastating certainly, but is it legal to do this to a grieving family? That’s why they called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
It’s hard to hear and almost impossible to take.
Michelle Ellis: “The officers came downstairs and just shook their heads.”
Michelle had received a call asking her to rush to her daughter Sarah’s apartment. She arrived and found that she was dead.
Michelle Ellis: Yeah, we went in and she was cold and I lay down next to her and just screamed and cried and touched her.
That was on a Tuesday. Michelle came back later that week to sort her daughter’s belongings.
Michelle Ellis: “Her clothes were there, her smell was on her clothes, and that was very, very important to me. I wanted to put them on. “
With the rent being paid for the month of March, Michelle didn’t start taking things out, just a box with some memorabilia.
Michelle Ellis: I’m in my daughter’s apartment thinking: How should I keep parts of her with me?
Seven days after Sarah died, the Del Rio property manager changed the apartment’s locks. Michelle was told, “Don’t worry.”
Michelle Ellis: “We were told we could come back and make an appointment and make arrangements to collect her things.”
But when the family was planning services for Sarah, little did they know what the property manager had planned for the next day.
Michelle Ellis: “She hired a garbage collector to come into the apartment, picked up all of our daughter’s things, her packed clothes and everything, and took them to the dump.”
That’s right: a garbage disposal company cleaned up the apartment and left it empty.
The company informed the family that they had dumped everything in a landfill, but claimed they could not remember where.
Michelle Ellis: I started crying. I started screaming because I was so emotionally disturbed and I felt like this person was tearing away the last connection I had with my child. “
Michelle’s daughter died on March 2nd.
On March 10th, all of her belongings were removed and deposited in a landfill.
A month later, Michelle still can’t believe it.
Michelle Ellis: “It is unethical, immoral to treat someone who is suffering like this, and it is terrible.”
It’s horrible for any parent to endure, Howard, but is it legal for a landlord to throw it all away?
Howard Finkelstein: “No, that is not legal and the reason: the rent has been paid. Also, the landlord must notify the next of kin and, by law, hold the property for at least 60 days from the date of death. You could sue and win, but all you get is three months’ rent or the value of Sarah’s property, whichever is greater. “
We tried to contact the property manager to find out why she did this. She didn’t reply to our emails or calls.
The lawyer for the owner of the Del Rio Apartments wrote, “We believe that we have housed the family as much as possible and that we are obeying the law. After her death, parents who claimed to be hers entered the unit to take the possessions they wanted and instructed the landlord to throw everything else away. The landlord stuck to it. “
The family says that’s not true. They never said to throw away Sarah’s clothes and furniture.
The lawyer informed us that the property manager no longer operates the complex and that she has resigned.
Michelle Ellis: “She was a good soul.”
Michelle will never get her daughter’s things back, but she has something that no one can destroy: her precious memories.
Michelle Ellis: “She wanted to be an interior designer and she had a lot of friends. Lots of people loved her. She was a lovely person. “
You never know what will happen overnight. Hug the people you love every day.
In most cases, when someone dies, the landlord and family sort things out. But not for Sarah’s family. Just sad in many ways.
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