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Missing Emmy winner and known hoarder found dead under pile of trash in her NYC home


She had been missing for five months

Carla Roman/NY Daily News via Getty Images

An Emmy Award-winning production designer reportedly known to be a hoarder was found dead under a pile of garbage in her New York City home this week.

What are the details?

New York City police told the Associated Press on Tuesday that Evelyn Sakash, 66, had been discovered on her kitchen floor buried underneath debris, her body partially decomposed.

Sakash — who was known for her production design work for movies such as "Mermaids," "Taxi," and "Still Alice" as well as for the hit Netflix series, "Orange is the New Black" — had reportedly gone missing last fall. In a missing persons report posted on Twitter, the NYPD stated that she had last been seen on Sept. 30.

According to an update post on the GoFundMe page set up to fund the search for her whereabouts, Sakash's sister, Ellen Brown, had hired a cleaning company to clean out her apartment and that's how they came to find her body

The New York Daily News reported that the city's Medical Examiner's office determined Sakash died of natural causes as a result of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, described by the Mayo Clinic as "the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on your artery walls."

What else?

Madeline O'Connell Hartling, a colleague of Sakash who organized the GoFundMe page, remembered her as a "kind, loving, and generous friend and sister."

"This is just devastating," Brown said in conversation with the Daily News. "She had a full life. She was so extraordinarily talented. She was a brilliant mind ... I don't want my sister to be remembered like that, like the way she was found."

Brown tried to explain the troubling circumstances surrounding her sister's death, saying, "This was clearly in effect for a long time. She sometimes kept people at bay." But she noted, "The headline says 'Queens hoarder,' but that's not who she is."

Hartling added, "I had no idea that she was living in her home like that. It was part of her life but it was not all of it so I hope she can be remembered more charitably. ... She should be remembered by the contributions made to the industry and with the kindness she approached everyone she knew."

Sakash was most recently credited for work in 2016 for "Once in a Lifetime" and "Urge." She won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction/Set Decoration/Scenic Design for her work in "Between the Lions" in 2003.

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