Vet's body found decomposing in Northern NY home - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vet's body found decomposing in Northern NY home

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Ralph Tefft Ralph Tefft

A veteran's body was found decomposing in his Northern New York home. Authorities believe Ralph Tefft was dead for months before they found him. The coroner says Tefft's own daughter lived inside the house where he lay dead for three months.

A veteran's body lay lifeless in his home for three months.

"It's astonishing," said Mike Decker, Morrisonville.

Tefft, 91, was found dead in his Morrisonville house and he didn't live there alone. Coroner David Donah says Tefft's daughter and possibly his grandson lived there while he was deceased.

"Everybody's just shocked and doesn't understand why or how it would happen," said Decker.

The coroner tells us Tefft's daughter said she didn't report her father's death because it was too much to handle. An anonymous call to adult protective services is what prompted Donah and the New York State Police to go inside. Donah declined an on-camera interview but says he believes Tefft died of natural causes. We reached out to State Police who would not comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

"Somebody should have reported it, said he's passed away," said David Bonhomme, Morrisonville.

The coroner said when he and the police went inside this house last Thursday, they found the veteran decomposing in his bed. Now, a mattress is lying outside.

"Very scary, you think somebody would have been looking over him," said Bonhomme.

Tefft served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

"He served for our country. People should have been keeping an eye on him better than they were obviously for him to be dead for three months," said Decker.

We spoke with Amy Quesnel who was Tefft's neighbor for 15 years. She remembers Tefft as one of the kindest men she's ever met.

"I used to sit on the porch for hours on end watching him just making sure his lawn was absolutely perfect," said Quesnel.

The coroner says no charges have been filed at this time.

"Just seeing him go out like this is absolutely horrible," said Quesnel.

We stopped by American Legion Post 20 where Tefft was a member for 45 years. The commander says there is no formal program to check on elderly veterans. The men who knew him there described him as a kind soul who was a snazzy dresser.

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