Local

Family angry after loved one dies & body not found for days in downtown shelter

PITTSBURGH — The family of a Pittsburgh man is demanding answers after their loved one died at a shelter downtown, but his body was not found for several days.

38-year-old Jamal Hardy was a resident of the Wood Street Commons, at the corner of Wood Street and 3rd Avenue, right in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh.

He died of an apparent drug overdose in his room several days ago, but his body wasn’t found until the smell of his decomposing remains alerted the facility to check his room.

“How did this happen? How?” asked Leon Rockymore, Hardy’s older brother. “Why was he dead so long under your watch and nobody noticed?”

The Wood Street Commons is an affordable housing complex subsidized by HUD and includes several shelter programs that take in the homeless and people with drug addictions. Those programs are run by Community Human Services (CHS), which receives funding from Allegheny County.

Rockymore says the Allegheny County Medical Examiner called him Wednesday morning to notify him that his brother had passed away, but told him his family would not be able to identify the body because it was so badly decomposed.

“I didn’t want to believe it. I’m torn. I’m hurt. I’m upset,” Rockymore said. “Why was he dead so long that we can’t have closure? We can’t see a body.”

Rockymore says telling his mother what happened was the hardest thing he’s ever done.

“I began to be fueled with anger to see my mom break and scream the way she did, because she’s not a real big crier. My mom — she don’t cry,” he said.

Hardy’s mother, Cynthia Mayhew, told Channel 11 she was devastated.

“I don’t even know how I had control of myself. I completely lost it,” Mayhew said.

The family says Hardy had problems with addiction and mental illness but didn’t deserve to be left that way in death.

Rockymore says he believes his brother’s addiction got worse living at the Wood Street Commons and is upset the facility is not doing more to help residents with addiction problems.

“You’re just making it safer for them to do drugs. Safer to get worse. Wood Street is Pittsburgh’s biggest crack house— sitting right in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh, under everyone’s nose, and no one’s done nothing about it!” Rockymore said angrily.

Other residents at Wood Street told Channel 11 there had been multiple drug overdose deaths at the facility over the past several years.

11 Investigates contacted the Wood Street Commons multiple times, asking to speak with the director, but they did not respond. We also called CHS, which runs the facility, but did not hear back in time for this report.

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