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Military veteran’s decomposing corpse found in NYC apartment next to canisters with biohazard labels

Police tape. (Dreamstime/TNS)

The decomposing body of a 75-year-old man was found in his Brooklyn apartment next to canisters with biohazard labels on them, police said Thursday.

Authorities also found inside the victim’s home crude drawings and sketches, some related to chemical compositions and one of a battery and cylinder, a police source said. On another piece of paper were the words: “Warning — danger. Don’t open this door. Why die?”

The bizarre incident prompted a response from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the and the city’s Health Department and Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies.

Police got a call at 12:52 p.m. Wednesday requesting a wellness check because the man, believed to be divorced military veteran who once ran a knish business, had not been heard from recently. Cops found him dead in a seated position in his home on 101st Ave. near Drew St. in the Cypress Hills section of East New York.

It is believed he had been dead for at least a week.

Preliminary tests did not detect any chemicals in the air.

The man is not on any terror watch list, said Deputy Commissioner Julian Phillips, the NYPD’s top spokesman.

It wasn’t yet clear if the cans contained the chemicals listed on the labels. The source noted the man had printed out bio hazard warning labels.

Authorities on Thursday will remove the canisters from the apartment to conduct further tests.

The city Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the man’s cause of death. His name was not immediately released.

The source said he has one prior arrest, from years ago.

His neighbors spoke highly of him.

Maria Tirado, 70, said the man divorced 20 years ago and lived in the neighborhood for some 50 years. A son of his died in the 1990s, she remembered.

“Wonderful person, always greeting everybody,” Tirado said. “Everybody knows him. Always donating. So caring.”

She also said her ex-husband worked for the man when he had his own knish business. She realized in the past few days she hadn’t seen the victim as she usually did when she walked around the neighborhood.

“I feel so hurt. He was like an older brother to me,” she said. “Never talked anything negative [about other people]. The majority of people who knew him died. [My husband is] going to be devastated.”


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