Evelyn Sakash, 66, had been missing since September.
A woman who had gone missing for seven months has tragically been discovered dead under a pile of debris inside the kitchen of her home in Queens, New York. The 66-year-old was discovered lying face-up under the debris. The woman was identified as Emmy-winning set designer Evelyn Sakash. Her body was discovered by her sister, Ellen Brown, who was visiting from out-of-state to empty the apartment with help from a professional cleaner, reports NY Daily News.
Evelyn Sakash, who won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2003 and was known to be a hoarder, was found by her sister and a cleaning crew lying on her kitchen floor buried under piles of garbage, police saidhttps://t.co/UxZYTj5PnB— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) April 1, 2021
“This is just devastating,” said the 60-year-old sibling, tearfully. “She had a full life. 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.” Authorities do not suspect criminality in Sakash's death at this time. It is believed that she died of natural causes, succumbing to arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, as per the city Medical Examiner’s office. A family friend Laura DiDio said on Facebook that cops with K-9 dogs searched Sakash’s home twice but were not able to detect her over the last few months.
Emmy-winning set designer turned hoarder Evelyn Sakash found under piles of rubbish https://t.co/KscAiimmWc— Top Most Popular News (@TPM_NEWS) April 1, 2021
"This was clearly in effect for a long time," Brown said of Sakash. "She sometimes kept people at bay. The headline says 'Queens hoarder,' but that's not who she is." According to Brown, her sister had "helped so many of her friends." "Every one of her friends would say she was the first person to step up if someone needed help. She was so generous with people," she recalled. "I want all of that to be the final testament, and not that she was found in a bad condition."
According to a neighbor, the award-winning designer fell into a downward spiral after her mother’s death last April. “She became so much more withdrawn and looked sick,” the neighbor said. “I think that’s when she started to pick up more of the hoarding . . . I went into her house years ago and it was normal.” When authorities walked into where Sakash lived the sink was filled with filthy dishes and the rooms were piled high with other debris. Throughout the residence, there was a stench wafting through.
Sakash was a talented set designer having won a 2003 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction/Set Decoration/Scenic Design for her work on the children’s television series Between the Lions. She had worked in a number of films and TV shows as well more notably hit TV shows like Billions and Orange Is The New Black. Sakash had also worked with Broadway set design, Disney, and MTV as well.
“I would like her to be remembered as an amazing friend and a talented artist,” said Madeline Hartling, 51, of Jersey City. Hartling is a scenic artist who worked with Sakash over many years. “She got along great with co-workers and was just so talented . . . The industry has lost an amazing designer and artist. I had no idea that she was living in her home like that,” she added. “It was part of her life but it was not all of it so I hope she can be remembered more charitably . . . She should be remembered by the contributions made to the industry and with the kindness she approached everyone she knew.” Sakash’s sister also recalls her kind, loving persona. “Every one of her friends would say she was the first person to step up if someone needed help,” Brown said. “She was so generous with people. I want all of that to be the final testament and not that she was found in a bad condition . . . She leaves a legacy behind of generosity and beauty.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds to cover funeral expenses.
Loved ones of Emmy-winning set designer Evelyn Sakash have spoken out after she was found dead in her home: "She had a full life. She was so extraordinarily talented." 💔https://t.co/Bpi93rKesH pic.twitter.com/OA7UcevUr4— E! News (@enews) April 1, 2021
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe