Case 44

Location: 105 Robinson Street, Summer 2006

In the summer of 2006, real-estate agent Dianne Morten asked us into a very small, cottage-like, house at 105 Robinson Street. The Forensic Identification Services had just verified that the legacy of a reclusive artist who had lived there for 40 years would not contain any human remains – as previous visitors to the house had suspected. Joseph Wagenbach, who emigrated in 1962 from Germany, had worked at odd jobs all his life, but in his free time he created a pandemonium of sculptures, hundreds of them, and hundreds of drawings, filling his four walls up to the neck and only leaving a small pathway from one room to the next… When he suffered a stroke in June, he was brought to hospital and not expected to recover fully. No next of kin were found, and so the house was scheduled for sale. But the mess inside! It needed to be emptied first. Then cleaned. And renovated. In between mummy-like sculptures hinted on animal-bones, fur, bugs and wood being part of his sculptures. But they were wrong! No bugs there, no dead bodies – it only looked like, and was made with layers and layers of old clothes, plaster, sand, wax and cement. Wagenbach used his kitchen only as a workshop; there weren’t any materials attracting bugs and rats. So we left was it alone after a first site-inspection. But the impression stayed with us.
Have a Look!