Officers responding to complaints of a foul smell in a south Denver apartment building made a gruesome yet bizarre discovery earlier this month - the decomposing body of a woman with her husband and dog sitting nearby. Denver police were called to an apartment building at 1240 South Birch after neighbours complained about the smell. According to a search warrant affidavit police entered the apartment using the manager's key and were immediately confronted by a Great Dane in the hallway. The officers also saw a man slumped in a chair blocking the doorway entrance to the living room.
One of the officers told the dog to "leave" and the dog "then turned and jumped on to the couch where officers observed an obvious deceased [woman] slumped on the couch." When they asked the man how long the woman had been dead, he replied, "She's not dead. She's fine." The man appeared to be either intoxicated or "out of sorts." The deceased woman has been identified as 32-year-old Michaela Beth Ford. The man was identified as her husband, Steven Ford. Police said the dog "Lola" was "guarding" the woman's body, and as a detective approached "the dog became agitated and began barking."
Officers called animal control, who removed the dog from the apartment. Neighbours said they wondered what was up when they noticed a bad smell coming from the apartment. "The hallway kind of started to smell weird, but it's like, you live in an apartment building. A million different people live around here," neighbor Andrew Cosgrove said. Police said the woman appeared to have been dead more than 10 days and her body was in an advanced state of decomposition. A maintenance manager said he saw the husband coming and going during the previous two weeks, but had not seen the wife. Ford has not been charged and police are apparently continuing their investigation.
Family members say they have no idea what happened in the apartment but did say they don't believe Steven is responsible for Michaela's death. "Steven has some issues," said his brother, Eldon Ford. "He was in a bad car accident in January (2011) and suffered a serious brain injury." Eldon said the accident left Steven susceptible to seizures. Eldon said he was told that preliminary autopsy results didn't show a link between Michaela's death and anything Steven did. "She had pancreatitis," Eldon said. "And both she and Steven drank." He said he suspects that Michaela died from that and that "Steven freaked out." The Denver Coroner's Office said they're still awaiting the toxicology report to determine the cause of death.