Hurricane Sandy’s latest victim may also be her loneliest.
Cops found the body of David Maxwell in his Staten Island home on Friday after it lay undiscovered for 11 days—with his neighbors thinking he had fled before the storm.
The 66-year-old lived alone with his cat—which also died—in the modest yellow, two-family house on Mapleton Avenue in Midland Beach. The home now stands in a flooded wasteland of trash, ruined furniture, mold and mildew.
“It’s so horrible,” said neighbor Dorothy Matthews, 71. “He was alone in the world except for his cat and his partner in the nursing home.”
“I don’t know who called it in, but it was probably someone who thought the smell came from rotting flesh,” she added. “It smelled so bad out here the past few days.”
The death of Maxwell, who friends said was a Marine who served in Vietnam, is the 23rd in the borough attributed to Sandy.
Citywide, Sandy’s death toll hit 43 yesterday as a 77-year-old Rockaways man was added to the list.
Maxwell’s partner, James McCormick, 72, recently suffered a stroke and resides in the Carmel Richmond Nursing Home.
McCormick’s caretaker, Irene Fontanez, came to the home yesterday to retrieve Maxwell’s book of stamps—his only prized possession.
“We were wondering why he hadn’t visited or called in so long,” she said. “He shouldn’t have been left here for so long.”
Neighbors said they checked on Maxwell, an avid stamp collector, the day the storm struck, but no one answered the door of his first-floor home, so they assumed he fled.
“Everyone rushed to his building on the first day because the water was getting so high,” said neighbor Elaine Walter, 52.
“We knocked on his door and nobody answered. I think he just wanted to stay. He was a homebody.
“He was a very quiet, polite man.”
Neighbors said authorities were called to check on him a week after the storm—but no one came.
“It’s so strange that it took this long for him to be found,” Walter added.
“He was such a lovely, sweet man. His partner James was his whole life. He went to visit him all the time. That’s all he did,” said neighbor Katherine Kayvolt, 75. “He thought the storm wasn’t going to be as bad as it was. He underestimated it. And this is what happened to him.”
An autopsy yesterday ruled the cause of death was drowning, the Medical Examiner’s Office said.
“Partner” used to be an ordinary word in the English language. Now it’s an Orwellian term, adopted uncritically and automatically by everyone.