In 2008, the body of a missing Croatian woman was discovered in her apartment. It was estimated that she had died sometime between 1966 and 1973.
Variations in the Details.
The incident was reported in 2008 and popularized by articles published by the Daily Record and the Associated Press. The Daily Record account states that Hedviga Golik of Croatia was found deceased after 42 years of sitting in front of her TV, having last been seen by neighbors in 1966.
Golik’s body was discovered on May 12, 2008, when the president of the tenants’ organization broke into the apartment along with two neighbors. The body was not immediately identified due to decomposition, although the woman’s identification was found on or near her corpse. No signs of criminal activity were detected. Dalje.com reported without explanation that neighbors had been paying the missing woman’s utilities and rent for decades.
A police spokesman said, “The cup she had been drinking tea from was still on a table next to the chair she had been sitting in and the house was full of things no one had seen for decades. Nothing had been disturbed for decades, even though there were more than a few cobwebs in there.”
Perhaps the most significant detail of the story is that the woman was likely found in her bed – not in front of her TV – and she was never reported missing.
Below are some details which vary according to the source.
- When was she last seen? – The Daily Record states the woman was last seen by neighbors in 1966. Dalje.com reported that the woman was last seen with two unidentified men by a neighbor in 1967. Pravda.ru states she was last seen in 1973. The AP stated that experts believed the year to be 1973. According to these dates, the woman’s disappearance lasted 42, 41, or 35 years.
- Location of body – The Daily Record states the woman was found sitting in front of a television. Pravda and Dalje state the woman was found in bed. Claims that the woman’s corpse was discovered in bed are corroborated by a quote from one of the men who discovered the body. “Startled by the remains in bed, they called police,” the AP wrote.
- Odor? – Dalje.com has conflicting reports regarding whether or not there was an odor associated with the body. One report states, “Neighbors told the police that they felt a strange smell coming from the flat..” while the other article writes “…they did not smell any stench, which might have warned the tenants of the unfortunate outcome…” Dalja also reported that the woman’s windows were either open or cracked, which is perhaps why the smell may not have been as strong to other tenants.
Why Did it Take So Long?
An obvious question is why it took decades to discover a missing woman’s body in her own apartment. The woman was never reported missing, which is why no one was looking for her. Neighbors thought the woman had moved away prior to her death after she was heard “talking about going abroad.” Her body was only discovered after years of requests by tenants to investigate the empty apartment. Police were originally asked by other tenants to search the apartment in 1991, but declined to do so. “I honestly don’t know why nobody has broken into the apartment. We requested it so many times, but nobody listened to us,” tenant Mirko Hovatic stated.
The decision to break into the apartment was finally made after the ownership of the apartment was set to be regulated that year.
Strange Notice on the Door
In 1998, an odd notice forbidding entrance into the apartment was written on the woman’s door. This notice was written in marker and claimed to be from the Zagreb Commission for Census, but officials denied placing any such notice.
Hedwig Golik was born in 1924 and worked as a nurse at a nearby clinic. She was reported to be reclusive and possibly suffered from mental illness.
Although there are still conflicting details, a woman’s body was in fact discovered after 35 to 42 years in her apartment. Eyewitnesses state the body was in bed, and not sitting in front of the TV as the Daily Record reported. The Daily Record is the most cited source regarding this story, but it provided no sources of its own. Earlier sources from Croatia and Russia include more details and offer direct quotes from those involved.
You may also like a 2014 report about a German woman who was discovered after having sat dead in front of her TV for 6 months. See that story here.
- Dead Body Lies In Bed For 41 Years (Dalje.com: May 13, 2008)
- Woman Found Dead in Flat after 41 Years Missing (Dalje.com: May 13, 2008)
- Found the body of a woman reported missing 35 years ago (Russian) (Pravda.ru: May 14, 2008)
Updated January 8, 2016
Originally published July 2013