For three years her body lay in her apartment, all alone, with the television still on. She was surrounded by Christmas gifts—it appeared that she was still in the midst of wrapping them. But yet, this young lady lay dead without anyone noticing or caring about her whereabouts.
Joyce Carol Vincent was only 38 years old when she apparently passed away, and 41 years old when her remains were finally found laying on her living room sofa. Her body was so badly decomposed that the reason of death could not be determined. She was identified from dental records.
And yet no one checked on her for three whole years.
Her body was finally discovered after Building Officials invaded her home on a repossession order. The year was 2006 when they finally took possession of her place. Once they entered into the apartment, a pile of mail greeted them in the front entrance and the apartment was covered with spider webs from the ceiling to the floor.
After the Building Officials made the grisly discovery, many questions started to arise. Who was she? Why hadn’t the electric and heating companies cut off her services? Why hadn’t the neighbors smelled her decomposing body? And most importantly, where were her family and friends?
The news of this young, attractive young lady was widely publicized in the British press and shocked many people who read about it.
Filmmaker Carol Morley read about Joyce in the news and became intrigued by her. They both had a lot of similarities—same age, both shared the name ‘Carol’, and both had a parent die when they were only eleven years of age. She produced a documentary film on the life of Joyce Vincent and the mystery surrounding her death and the many questions of her life. The film is entitled “Dreams of a life.”
In the film, “Friends of Joyce Carol Vincent,” lovingly spoke about her life and her untimely death. It baffled them that Joyce was found dead. Her family declined to participate in the documentary, although they desperately tried to reach out to Joyce a year before she died. It’s been reported that they’d hired a private investigator to look for her without any luck.
Joyce Carol Vincent was born in 1965 in West London, UK. Her parents were from the Caribbean Island of Grenada—she was the youngest of five girls.
Although she had a limited education, she managed to hold down important jobs and made great money. She was known to be an impeccable dresser and was “very well spoken.” Her petite frame and quiet demeanor, along with her stunning looks drove men wild.
In her last days, it was suspected that Joyce may have worked as a cleaning lady. She also spent time in a domestic violence shelter as reports state she was trying to escape an abusive boyfriend.
She moved into a “flat” that was set up by the domestic violence organization with subsidized housing paying a portion of her rent. Unfortunately, the apartment was located in a seedy area where drug addicts roamed and trash bins overflowed causing a ratchet smell throughout the complex—which could explain how the smell of her decomposing body went unnoticed.
Her mail was dropped directly in a slot through her front door which explains why no one noticed the pile up; and the noise from her television was masked by the often noisy apartment complex she resided in.
Anyone who hears Joyce’s story is haunted by the same question: How does a person die without anybody noticing for three years?