Emmy Winner, Missing Since October, Found Dead Under Debris in Her Own Home
GoFundMe & Getty Images
The body of Evelyn Sakash, a Daytime Emmy-winning set designer last seen alive in October, was found entombed in debris in her Queens, New York, home March 30.
Family members, who had reported her missing, were apparently unaware of the extent to which Sakash had become a hoarder, which complicated the situation because authorities had been legally disallowed from removing items from her home without a clear indication a crime had occurred.
The gruesome discovery was finally made by her worried sister and a cleaning crew, and came after NYPD cadaver dogs had failed to pick up her scent in the garbage-strewn home, "likely due to the smell inside," The New York Daily News reports.
As a testament to how severe Sakash's hoarding was, it was reported that cadaver dogs had come to the refuse-packed home twice in October, but still could not locate her body, although 10 pets were rescued from the squalid conditions.
Sakash, 66 at the time she vanished, had been a well-known set designer for Broadway shows, movies, and TV, winning the 2003 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction/Set Decoration/Scenic Design for her work on the kids' show "Between the Lions."
According to her sister, Ellen Brown, who had organized a GoFundMe page to search for Sakash, the deceased had also worked for Disney, MTV, and on the series "Billions" and "Orange Is the New Black."
Friends and neighbors expressed shock at Sakash's disturbing end, but recalled a woman in crisis, one who'd recently lost her mother and whose industry was particularly hard-hit by COVID-19.
Neighbor Laraine Memola told The Daily News, “Just the thought of someone with an illness being left like that for six months until they find the body is just awful. We don’t know what happened to her — if she suffered, if she died right away.”
“She had a full life,” Brown said of her late sister. “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.”
One aspect of her legacy is the outpouring of support that came when Sakash went missing — her GoFundMe announced Friday that it had raised its first fundraising goal of over $10,000, which will help the victim's sister deal with the aftermath of her heartbreaking passing.