Reporter Talks About Frozen Homeless Man
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
It's not unusual for reporters at the Detroit News to get calls about dead bodies. Murders are all too common in the motor city. But a call to reporter Charlie LeDuff recently had nothing to do with homicides or police reports.
F: Life Goes On Around Body Found in Vacant Detroit Warehouse." Charlie LeDuff joins me now. Charlie, when did you get that call?
CHARLIE LEDUFF: You know what? It seems like a million years ago, maybe three days, let's say three.
NORRIS: Three days ago?
NORRIS: And why did the caller phone you instead of the police?
LEDUFF: Because he was a friend of the guy that actually found it who was afraid that the police would haul him in, question him, maybe consider him a suspect. He was also trespassing. In Detroit, we have thousands of abandoned buildings. This just happened to be one, very big basement of it, very large warehouse filled with about five feet of water, so they were actually playing hockey down there. So this is one of the hockey players, and he sees this legs and figures he got to do something about it, so I get the call.
NORRIS: And you went to check it out?
LEDUFF: Went to check it out, yeah, out of curiosity. But I'm also not going to call the police if it's a hoax, so sure enough, there they were.
NORRIS: Do you mind telling us what you saw?
LEDUFF: He was living next to - there was a - I started inquiring about him, a lot of homeless people live in this building, and people knew he was there for a month, nobody called the police.
NORRIS: A month?
LEDUFF: So I'm trying to figure out who he is. I mean, he's somebody's baby, right?
NORRS: Mm hmm. Yeah, everybody is somebody's son.
LEDUFF: Yeah, he is.
NORRIS: You know, sometimes a story like this, as painful as it is, it can get people to wake up, pay attention to something, take action. Do you get the sense that that might happen?
LEDUFF: I hope so. I'm getting a lot of emails which, you know, it struck people, so that's good. Maybe he sparked something. We'll see. I'll stay on it, you know. We'll find out who he is, you know, he'd be more than just a media sensation. Let's get him a nice obituary. He was somebody.
NORRIS: Please stay on it, Charlie.
LEDUFF: I will.
NORRIS: Thank you. Thanks for taking time for us.
LEDUFF: My pleasure.
NORRIS: Charlie LeDuff is a reporter for the Detroit News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.