Friday, October 16, 2009

L.A.: Body on Balcony Mistaken for Halloween Decoration

By Seema Mehta
Los Angeles Times/SJ Mercury-News

LOS ANGELES — The body of a 75-year-old man sat decomposing on a balcony for days because neighbors thought it was part of a Halloween display and didn't call police.

Mostafa Mahmoud Zayed apparently had been dead since Monday with a single gunshot wound to one eye. He was slumped over a chair on the third-floor balcony of his apartment in Marina del Rey, said cameraman Austin Raishbrook, who owns RMG News and was on scene Thursday when authorities found the body.

Neighbors told Raishbrook that they noticed the body Monday "but didn't bother calling authorities because it looked like a Halloween dummy," he said.

"The body was in plain view of the entire apartment complex (and) they all didn't do anything," Raishbrook said. "Its very strange. It did look unreal, to be honest."

Officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department could not immediately be reached for comment.

Coroners officials were called to the waterside complex at 6:42 p.m. Thursday, according to Capt. John Kades of the county coroner's office. The body will be examined to determine the cause of death.

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