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Mummified man found in front of TV, still on

February 18, 2007|Sandra Peddie and Susana Enriquez | Newsday

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Southampton police responding to burst water pipes in a Hampton Bays home found the mummified body of the owner -- dead for more than a year -- sitting in a chair in front of a television.

The television was still on.

Vincenzo Riccardi, 70, appeared to have died of natural causes in his home, said Dr. Stuart Dawson, Suffolk County deputy chief medical examiner.

The medical examiner's office considered Riccardi's body mummified because the lack of humidity in his home preserved his features, morgue assistant Jeff Bacchus said.

"You could see his face. He still had hair on his head," Bacchus said. "I've never seen anyone dead that long."

Police and county sources said Riccardi, whose body was found Thursday, had not been heard from since December 2005. The medical examiners said they were baffled as to why the electricity would be on in the home all that time.

"He was in his house, sitting in his chair, as if watching television, and the television was, in fact, still on," Dawson said.

Riccardi lived alone; his wife had died years ago, Dawson said. Mail had piled up, but then delivery stopped.

Neighbors said Riccardi had diabetes and had become blind in his 50s. His house was up a long driveway and could not be seen from the street.

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