Body of man found in basement is identified

The man whose body was discovered in a room in the basement of a vacant city home at 509 High St. on Monday afternoon has been identified was 52-year-old Michael Middleton, Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr. said Thursday.

Due to “some decomposition” of the body, dental records were needed to confirm his identity, Kiessling said.

An autopsy was conducted Wednesday at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, but it was inconclusive, Kiessling said, adding that the manner and cause of death will remain undetermined until further tests are completed.

Among the tests to be conducted are toxicology, which will take several weeks to complete.

Middleton, who was on disability and lived at 325 High St., had been reported missing for four weeks, Kiessling said.

A local bank had taken over ownership of the structure, which police believe has been vacant for possibly a year and was in foreclosure.

Agent Trent Peacock, the lead investigator in the case, said there are a number of unanswered questions, including how Middleton’s body ended up in the house. Did he die there or somewhere else? Was his body dumped inside the house, and if so, by whom? Who was the last person to see him alive and who last talked to him and when?

Peacock admitted Thursday afternoon that the investigation was going to be a long, lengthy process.

Middleton was reported missing to police in mid-December.

Anyone who has any information about him is asked to call police at 570-327-7560 or Kiessling’s office at 570-327-2305.