Dead Spanish man lay undiscovered at home for up to 20 years
Neighbours say they had not seen Vicente Benito for almost two decades, and thought he had moved away
The remains of a Spanish man have been found lying in the corridor of his terraced house in the north-western village of Canizal some 20 years after he died.
Police looking for clues to the date of Vicente Benito's death point to the fact that the only coins and banknotes they could find in the house were denominated in pesetas, suggesting he had died well before the euro was introduced in 2002.
In fact nobody had seen Benito for almost two decades, though none of his neighbours in the village of 520 people thought there was anything peculiar about him failing to answer his doorbell for so long.
They long ago gave up ringing on it, assuming he had moved to neighbouring Portugal. There were rumours he had found a girlfriend, or was working as a shepherd in some other part of the world.
A few people remember being angry that he had left a dog tied to the metal bars across a window that gave straight on to the street, but that was a decade or two ago.
The dog was eventually cut loose and taken in by a neighbour, but no one tried to find out if Benito was ill in bed or somehow unable to get of his tiny house.
Villagers were unable to explain why, given that Benito was slowly doing up his house and had left a six-inch gap at the bottom of his front door, nobody had noticed a strange smell. Herrero suggested a nearby pigsty had blocked it out.
"These days there a lot of solitary souls in our villages," commented La Opinión de Zamora columnist Celedonia Pérez.
"They should check his bank account, that should show when he last took out money," a neighbour, María Victoria Barros suggested.