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Atlanta's Abandoned Houses Have a Dead Body Problem

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No, it's not all about property values

Last year, Invest Atlanta won applause by launching an ambitious new Housing Strategy that called for reducing the number of vacant, blighted homes in the city by 20 percent by 2020, among other goals.

At the time, officials counted some 1,500 units they wanted to see demolished or inhabited in the next four years. Beyond their impact on neighborhood morale and commercial investment, vacant houses in parts of Atlanta present another — and more morbid — problem, as the AJC chronicles this week.

In the shadow of downtown and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, two more bodies turned up this week in an abandoned house. As with other cases, the house in question is owned by a Buckhead-based investment group, the newspaper reports.

Neighbors said the blighted properties give the impression that crooks can get away with murder — literally. But this case was unusual, in that the home was relatively well-maintained, the lawn mowed.

Beyond the case this week, the story paints a disturbing, anecdotal picture:

Dead bodies are no rare occurrence in the abandoned properties west of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new home of the Atlanta Falcons. Some are squatters who died of chronic health problems or addicts who overdosed. In one case, two decomposing bodies found in a home a couple of miles west belonged to women who were strangled months apart.

Others are murder victims who were killed elsewhere and dumped, as in the case of a dismembered woman found in a vacant lot near Joseph E. Boone Boulevard.

Quick, somebody call code enforcement.