By Devese “Dee” Ursery and Pat Pratt
After learning the body of a man missing for seven months and found dead Dec. 11 was discovered inside the deceased’s own home, members of his family issued sharp criticism of the police investigation on Monday during the Troy City Council meeting.
Richard Maedge, 53, was reported missing April 27. After more than seven months passed, Troy Police announced in a news release he had been found dead on Dec. 11. No location or other circumstances surrounding his death were given in the release and police said the investigation was still active.
Family members on Tuesday told the Times-Tribune that Maedge was discovered inside a storage area beneath a stairwell of his own home on Hickory Street and believe he took his own life.
During the Troy city council meeting on Monday, Van Toliver, brother-in-law of Richard Maedge, spoke to members, describing the Troy Police investigation of Maedge’s disappearance as a failure.
“To me, I just find it unfathomable to see how a police department failed this badly,” Toliver said during the meeting.
Toliver said family members repeatedly told police about a noxious smell inside the residence. He said he had spoken to the Chief of Police Brent Shownes and two detectives and they told him that the house had been searched three times.
Toliver said Jenn Maedge, wife of the deceased, told him that detectives had never been in the house and that it was patrol officers that did the search. He was dumbfounded by the conflicting reports he and his wife, Marilyn were given, saying he believes that the police department let the family down.
“I talked to Jenn, his spouse, and she said that detectives never searched the house, it was patrol cops,” Toliver said. “Me and my wife have called on numerous occasions complaining about the odor coming from the house and the flies.”
Chief Shownes, in his report during the meeting, mentioned that Maedge was found at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 11, deceased. He didn’t release any new information and said that further information from the investigation will be released after the coroner’s report is complete.
A call to Shownes Tuesday was not immediately returned. In response to emailed questions about the investigation, the chief said it would be premature to release more information ahead of the medical examiner’s report.
“It would be premature and guesses to release certain information now,” Shownes wrote. “I have to wait until the Madison County Coroner’s office completes their investigation in conjunction with Troy PD investigators and a press release will be sent out then.”