LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A construction company that’s purchased the Lafayette home where an 88-year-old man lay dead for more than nine months plans to raze the residence and build a new one in its place.
The house that was built in the 1920s and once belonged to Gerald “Scooter” Gavan Jr. was sold in June to GLR Acquisitions Inc. by his widow, Ila Solomon, for $60,000, about half of its assessed value. According to deed records, GLR Acquisitions then sold the home to Kirfi LLC., which plans to demolish the home after a 60-day waiting period that’s required for homes in the historic Highland Park Neighborhood.
Jim Kiracofe, co-owner of the construction company, told The (Lafayette) Journal & Courier that the home would be hard to sell because of its ominous reputation.
Neighbors reported seeing Solomon enter and exit the home regularly while her husband’s corpse continued to decompose on the living room floor. Meanwhile, she was living in another home two doors down.
A restoration of the home also would be less cost-effective than demolition, Kiracofe said, partially because people have broken in and stolen wiring and other materials.
“We’d have to deal with having the history of the house and everything else there,” he said. “I’m just trying to do the right thing and build a house (so) that we can do the community right and make a little money at the same time.”
Kirfi LLC plans to build a new home on the same lot that will fit the character of the historical neighborhood, Kiracofe said.
Solomon declined to discuss why she decided to sell her husband’s lifelong home, but she commented on how housing has changed since the 1920s and said, “The house is not designed for how we live today.”
Prosecutors have accused Solomon of allowing her husband’s body to decay in the home so she could continue receiving his government benefits. She faces numerous felony and misdemeanor charges, including theft, welfare fraud and failure to report a dead body, according to court records. She currently is out on bond and awaiting trial.
Solomon claims she waited to report the death because she wanted to fulfill her husband’s burial wishes by allowing birds to eat his remains.