From the street, the two decomposing bodies were nearly invisible, concealed in an overgrown lot alongside worn-out car tires and a mouldy sofa. The teenagers had been shot, stripped to their underwear and left on a deserted block.
They were just the latest victims of foul play whose remains went undiscovered for days after being hidden deep inside Detroit’s vast urban wilderness — a crumbling wasteland rarely visited by outsiders and infrequently patrolled by police.
Abandoned and neglected parts of the city are quickly becoming dumping grounds for the dead — at least a dozen bodies in the space of 12 months. And authorities acknowledge there is little they can do.
It’s a pattern made possible by more than four decades of urban decay and suburban flight. White residents started moving to burgeoning suburbs in the 1950s, then stepped up their exodus after a deadly 1967 race riot. Detroit’s black middle class followed over the next two decades, leaving block after block of empty homes.
Over time, tens of thousands of houses deteriorated. Some collapsed, others were demolished. Empty lots gave way to block-long fields.
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