Man's body found stuck in bank chimney after missing for 27 years

Roz Zurko's picture

A Louisiana man's body was discovered stuck inside the chimney of a bank, after he had been missing for 27 years, leading to speculation of a robbery gone awry.

A very strange and bizarre story has unfolded in Abbeville, Louisiana after a missing man's remains were found in a bank's chimney, 27 years since he was last seen. In what may be a botched robbery attempt, Joesph Schexnider's story, of how he ended up dead in a chimney, is baffling for both authorities and the man's family members.

Robert Schexnider wonders how his brother ended up stuck in a chimney in the first place. Theories that range from an accident to a robbery attempt gone awry have crossed his family's mind since the news of his body's discovery. His brother, who was tearing up while speaking about his missing sibling said, "at least they know where he is now," and added, "at least he is home," according to Yahoo News.

The story of the missing man is strange from the beginning, police report that Joesph Schexnider became stuck in the small town bank's chimney back in 1984 and apparently died. Maybe no one heard him call for help and the smell of a decomposing body was never detected inside the bank.

Schexnider was never reported missing by his mother and siblings and no one had ever searched for their missing family member. This was because the man was a loner and a wanderer from an early age. The last time the family saw Joseph was in January of 1984 when he was 22 years old.

Robert Schexnider tells the media that his mother worried about him, as did the rest of the family members, they did not report him missing because Robert said he told his mother, "Mom, that's just Joseph being Joseph,'" Robert Schexnider said. "He was always taking off for somewhere." They suspected that he was living somewhere and that he had just not reached out to the family for almost three decades. Joseph first ran off at the age of 9 or 10, so this was his usual behavior.

Schexnider said that his brother Joseph had joined a circus in the past and even went with the circus overseas, where he became stranded without money to get home. The local church in town helped him out with money for his trip back to Louisiana. He worked on and off and joined the National Guard at one time, in which he left with a medical discharge. With Joseph's life style, it is understandable why the family would think that he was just out living his life somewhere.

The discovery of Schexnider's body came during the renovation of the building that houses the bank. A construction worker broke through the chimney and he tugged on some old fabric that he saw inside, causing a cascade of human bones and old clothes to fall all around him. This is probably a find this man will not soon forget.

While speculation that Joseph may have been trying to get into the bank to rob it, he did not have a police record, but he was wanted for possessing a stolen car at the time he went missing. His brother said around the same time he had hooked up with a bad crowd. No tools or any type of bag was found with Schexnider's body, that could be used to rob a bank.

It appears that Joseph had gone into the 14-inch by 14-inch chimney feet first. The chimney narrowed down to a 3-inch opening on the second floor of the bank building. There was no way out from the bottom. Joseph may not have been able to climb back out of the chimney to set himself free. Any calls for help would most likely go unheard, since he was 20 feet above the street with a brick encasing all around him.

Back in 1987 the chimneys on the downtown buildings, including the bank, were capped, but no one spotted the body. Police have closed the case due to the many decades that have gone by since Schexnider's death and the lack of clues. His funeral will be held tomorrow, Sunday.

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