STEVENSVILLE, Md. - The smell was so bad in Megan Manowski’s Stevensville condo it made her flowers wilt.
At first, she thought it was the fish in the water near her home. Then she took out the garbage, and the spoiled food in the fridge.
She called plumbers to check the dishwasher. She smothered cracks in the plaster with towels. She thought it might be coming from the pipes so she covered drains with plastic wrap. She pulled the trigger on the Febreze and fired up the scented candles yet still there was no allaying the stench.
Nothing killed the smell.
“It kind of smelled like a dead body,” Manowski said. “But you never think that’s what it really is … that the person on the other side of the wall is dead.”
It took weeks before firefighters broke into the condo and found the her neighbor's decomposed body.
“It’s creepy,” Manowski said. “It’s nauseating to know that’s what we were breathing; that’s what we were smelling for over a month.”
It was the flies in the window that gave it away.
“It’s very sad that he was over there for a while and nobody knew,” Manowski said.
That was a week ago.
“The body is gone, but we can still smell it,” Manowski said Thursday morning.
Manowski called the landlord, the funeral home and other stakeholders with no luck of rectifying the situation. Everyone, she said, was sympathetic but, “nobody would help us,” she said. “What can you do at this point? That’s why we called [ABC2 News].”
ABC2 staff phoned the health department, which intervened by coordinating a clean-up crew to take care of the upstairs condo Thursday night, but the dead man’s daughter initially didn’t give the crew permission to come in.
Manowski then made one last call to the daughter of the man who died.
“It’s a huge relief,” Manowski said after convincing the daughter to allow the cleaning crew to do its job.
Manowski said she didn’t even know the man’s name.