Hoarding

Chicago Couple Found Buried in Trash

Evoking memories of the famous New York Collyer brothers, who died in their Harlem mansion buried under 130 tons of belongings and trash, Jesse and Thelma Gaston were similarly found in their Chicago home on Monday night—except alive. “It was packed from floor to ceiling,” police said. The couple had cut off contact with family and friends; Thelma hadn’t seen her brother for eight years, their phone was disconnected, and even long-time neighbors never saw them. “They didn’t communicate with anybody,” said Hattie Fields, who lives next door. The couple was found when Fields called 311 after noticing Jesse hadn’t mowed the lawn in weeks and that his truck was accumulating parking tickets. The Department of Buildings wrote several citations, “for the purpose of getting a court order to allow for an emergency clean up,” said a spokesman for the department. The couple is in intensive care at Jackson Park Hospital, in critical condition.