A Syracuse family recently made a gruesome discovery in their backyard.

By Pat Reavy

Police suspect he had been there nearly a week before being discovered by small children last Friday.

“It’s actually gotten us, more than I thought it would,” said Nate Lucas.

While playing, one of Nate Lucas’ youngest children found the body of a 28-year-old man lying under the deck next to the back door.

“I feel terrible they had to go through this,” said Syracuse Police Detective Erin Behm.

Children find dead body in Syracuse backyard nearly a week after suspected death

Based on the description of the man and what he was wearing, detectives quickly determined it was the same man who had run from police five days earlier while officers were investigating a shoplifting case.

Now police believe 28-year-old Levi Anderson, after running from the Walmart, went under a resident’s deck to hide and then passed away while hiding.

The family, who live near Walmart, remember police searching their street on May 24th.

“How was it that we didn’t find him or they didn’t find him for that long. That’s hard to fathom, that it took that long to find the person,” said Nate.

Det. Behm said it appears that Anderson died within hours of climbing under the Lucas’ deck.

“What was going on that made him pass away? Could we have helped him? How long was he alive? We were functioning as a family for five days while this man was under there,” said Nate.

Police said there was no obvious cause of death and are currently waiting for results from the medical examiner.

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