Man's decomposing body found by man trying to steal water heater

A Detroit man was found dead inside an empty home after a man called 911 and admitted that he was trying to steal a water heater from an empty home and found a man's body.

Detroit police said the gruesome discovery was made Thursday morning inside the home on Mendota Street on the city's west side. The man's body was extremely decomposed.

"He's very, very decomposed. Very. It's sad. Everybody is traumatized by it," said his mom, Kim Nickerson.

The man, believed to be 23-year-old Demarco Bates, was found dead, face down on the basement floor. The father of five has been missing for almost three weeks. His family told FOX 2 that he's been missing since September 9th.

Bates's family says the young man suffered from sickle cell disease. But for now, they're unsure how he died.

The home was his mother's home and Bates liked to return to it to be alone. The family checked the home but never went inside the basement.

The Wayne county medical examiner's office says they hope to learn more soon and an autopsy is scheduled Friday.