Tragic: Homeless man found dead in abandoned home

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A homeless man was found dead in an abandoned home in Milwaukee last weekend. A report from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office says the victim, 53-year-old John Abbott, was schizophrenic.

The call came in to the Milwaukee Fire Department around noon last Saturday. It was a report of a man found dead in the closet of an abandoned home near 25th and Michigan. Abbot was discovered when a realty agent showed the space to a potential buyer.

An investigation into Abbot's background suggests family members had not heard from him in years -- and he was living with mental illness, possibly schizophrenia.

At Milwaukee's National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Jeanette Arellano works to improve lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. In Milwaukee, the need is great enough that most of NAMI's programs have waiting lists.

"A place for everyone to feel that they are in the same level many times people are stigmatized but when yiou are in a group of peers that can understand the situation or that have been through similar situations such as homelessness," said Arellano.

NAMI doesn't provide temporary housing but does refer other organizations. In cases of people in long-term homelessness and with a mental illness gone untreated, it is never too late to find someone help.

"But just to understand that recovery is an ongoing process. It is something that needs to be maintained, and there is no final reach where mental illness no longer exists," said Arellano.

The home where Abbot's body was found was being sold by the City of Milwaukee for rehabilitation.

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