The rotting body of a missing man was found inside a chimney in Nebraska last week, over a month after mysterious screams for help were reported coming from within the building. The victim was identified on Wednesday as 29-year-old Zachariah Andrews from Norfolk, as reported by the Norfolk Daily News.
Police are still unsure about the circumstances that led to his death. Andrews’ body was retrieved on October 19 after a maintenance worker, prompted by a noxious smell emanating from the chimney of an apartment in Norfolk, a city located approximately 110 miles northwest of Omaha, made the grim discovery. Police have launched an investigation and more details are awaited.
The maintenance worker came across what appeared to be human shoes hanging from the chimney shaft, as told by the police to the Norfolk Daily News. Andrews was last seen on September 15, but it took another 19 days before he was reported “missing.”
The day after Andrews was last seen, the Norfolk Police received a call from a resident inside the apartment building, reporting that they had heard mysterious screams.
“The resident reported that he heard a man yelling for help and that it appeared to be coming from the first floor,” police said in a statement.
When officers arrived at the scene, the mysterious screams had stopped.
Despite conducting a search of the property and interviewing several residents, none of whom had heard the cries for help, the police were unable to locate the origin of the squalls.
Consequently, officers left without finding the source of the screams, inadvertently leaving Andrews in the chimney.
Andrews was officially reported as missing on October 3, which happened to be the same day when the Madison County Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for his arrest on seven counts of violating a protection order.
Over the past several months, Andrews made numerous posts on his Facebook page in an apparent effort to communicate with an unnamed woman. Several of his friends cautioned him to move on, with one friend advising him to remember what he had learned during his time in treatment.
In one of his Facebook posts, Andrews claimed that the police had conducted a raid on his “love letters” to the unnamed woman, and he mentioned that they informed him that his aspirations of being with her were “unrealistic.”
“I kinda wanna prove them wrong tho,” he wrote in May.
Andrews was also charged in 2018 for allegedly attempting to entice a 12-year-old girl who was advertising a swimsuit for sale on Facebook. In a text conversation, he reportedly invited her to his place to have a drink and made additional sexual remarks, as reported by Siouxland Proud.
Additionally, he was charged with resisting arrest by kicking police officers during an arrest attempt related to an assault on another man in April of the previous year.
While he was missing, a parking warning was issued for his car, which was parked directly in front of the apartment building where he was later found trapped in the chimney.
“I couldn’t image how you were feeling being trapped but now you are free my brotha, free in gods (sic) hands! Spread your wings angel,” friend Josh Isenbart wrote on Facebook.
“I’ll cherish every day (sic) that I did have with you there until we meet again my friend, you are no longer suffering and are now in the best place you can be.”
Authorities believe that Andrews’ death was accidental, but they are continuing their investigation to gather more information and confirm the circumstances surrounding his death.