Police find man dead for two years

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A human tragedy was unfolding in Oslo on Friday after police reported finding the body of an elderly man who’s believed to have died in his east-side apartment at least two years ago.

Relatives had finally contacted police after saying they hadn’t heard from the man for a long time. Police entered his apartment and found his body, reported newspaper VG.

No signs of trouble
Neighbours and the board of his building’s homeowners’ association assumed he had moved to a nursing home. One neighbour told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that his monthly association fees were paid regularly, his mailbox wasn’t overfilled and there was no odor from his apartment.

The electricity to his apartment, though, was cut off in October 2008, reported newspaper VG.

“We don’t know exactly when he died,” Grete Metlid of the Oslo Police District told VG. “The preliminary estimate is two years ago, but it could have been longer.”

A spokesman for utility firm Hafslund said the company had tried repeatedly to contact the man after his electricity bill had gone unpaid for six months. “We never got a response,” Morten Schau of Hafslund told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “We tried to reach him both by phone and at his home.”

Tragedy earlier this year, too
It wasn’t clear whether his death may have been tied to the loss of electricity. Earlier this year an elderly man living alone in Bærum, west of Oslo, froze to death after he’d failed to pay his bills and his electricity was cut off.

Schau insisted, though, that Hafslund had followed all its normal routines at the time, but now would have also contacted municipal officials in such cases, out of concern for the customer’s welfare.

“This is a tragic case,” Schau told NRK. “Now we contact relevant authorities and let them know the electricity has been cut off. Nor do we shut off electricity during the cold winter season.”

Police said they had no reason to suspect any foul play connected to the death of the man, who was in his 70s.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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