Police ID Man Found Dead at Springs

Body discovered Tuesday evening after neighbors reported odor.

The man found dead in a storage room at Springs Apartments on Tuesday has been identified as Robert Lee Spears, 53, of no fixed address. Fairfax County Police said Spears died from natural causes.

 Update, Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.: Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Shelley Broderick says there appears to be no foul play in the death.

"It is just a person who died," she said. "There is nothing criminal."

Original story: Fairfax County Police are investigating reports of a dead body found in the 12000 block of Greywing Square on Tuesday.

Police were called to the Springs apartments late Tuesday night after residents of the neighborhood smelled a strange odor coming from a basement storage area. The body is believed to be an adult male.

Police said they do not yet know the man's identity or how he died.

Dawnia Bell December 21, 2011 at 07:16 PM
...and it seems a bit opportunistic. If the apartment is live-in(able) there is no reason to discount your rent. A poor soul found a place to lay down and take his last breath on Hannahkuah right before Christmas.
KAB December 21, 2011 at 07:32 PM
He might have been a transient but the apartments have a box on the front where you are supposed to enter a code to get in and the box on the building he entered is broken, so if it had worked he wouldn't have been able to get in. The body was in a storage unit that is supposed to stay locked and only to be opened by the complex workers, it was located next to the laundry room and there are three apartments on the bottom floor where he was found, two of them have small children, any of which could have opened that door and found the dead body. A cleaning crew is suppose to come often to clean the halls, but yet no one knew he was there. As far as opportunistic, there is nothing opportunistic about having a decaying body rotting in your building 5 feet from your door for two weeks. The smell was so horrendous that if I wasn't covering my nose in the hallway I would throw up, and actually did a couple of times. The box to enter the building should've been fixed and that "storage" area should've been secured. As far as livable I'm pretty sure having a decompossing body in your building for two weeks is a severe bio hazard. There was even a sign put on the door by police after the body was removed but before the inside was cleaning saying that it was a biohazard. The smell and the experience to follow was horrendous and traumatic, there is still a blood stain on the floor.
KAB December 21, 2011 at 07:36 PM
I actually am a real estate expert and the apartment complex is now going to be obligated to disclose what happened to any new tenants of that building for two next two years.
Karen Goff December 21, 2011 at 08:50 PM
Interesting details. thanks for sharing.
Mickie Parisi December 21, 2011 at 09:08 PM
Why don't you come sit in my hallway and see how long you can handle the SMELL before you throw-up!!! It wasn't opportunistic it was realistic!!! I've been up all night, because of the smell, and today I'm feeling even worse!! That body was in there for up to 2 weeks. Have you smelled a decaying body before??
Debra J. Fidler December 21, 2011 at 09:23 PM
iI do not understand some people, amen to you!!
Scott December 21, 2011 at 11:11 PM
I quess my question is - Why did you all put up with the smell for two weeks? I would have reported it and demanded that someone in the rental office come with me and smell it now and start investigating what the hidious smell is! It is sad for all of you to have had to deal with this during the holidays. Let us not forget that it was a human life that was loved by someone and had a place somewhere at the very least at sometime.
Scott December 21, 2011 at 11:14 PM
KAB - is the gated commuity a item that is listed in your lease? I ask because I had an issue many, many years ago and I was told that if the amenity is not listed in the lease, then they have no obligation to maintain it. In my case they closed the pool in my building and that was one of the reasons I rented in said building and I could not break the lease because the pool was not a listed amenity...actually you will find outside of normal maintaince nothing is really required by the apartment complex.
JAK December 22, 2011 at 01:23 AM
A friend of mine knew the guy who passed away, and he was the uncle of a student who a family member of mine taught. I'm not certain about what caused his death, but I do know that he had used some drugs in the recent past. Either way, RIP, and to Mickie P., I actually agree with you. Also, I would like to add that the police statement sounds rather absurd. If that is the best way the FCPD can word such a situation, then I feel they need a new PR Officer.
Debra J. Fidler December 22, 2011 at 01:55 AM
This is why people should get involved and stop complaining when you don't! Do you know how many people I've asked when looking for lost animals, do you know what they say.... nothing, becasue they are not aware of their surroundings, talking on their cell phones when walking and ignoring their four legged friend that would lay down their life for you. Just like your text messages when people are walking on the streets staring at their phones. What's so important that you can't cross the street with out staring down, I pray that there are tickets issued in time, these people are the same one that don't get involved and live in their little world. Turn off your phone, greet your neighbor and smel the flowers. I bet your stress level with drop and volunteer.
DM December 22, 2011 at 02:30 AM
Seriously? Someone died and you want a rent reduction. Someone here at our complex actually asked for a rent reduction too, when Colvin Morris was murdered Monday Dec. 12th. The man had the guts to ask when he isn't even a legal resident. Hmmm. I wish there were better people in our community that knew how to come together in times like these. Be aware of who is in your community and care for one another and many of these situations could be avoided. Think of those lost not of how you can benefit from rent reduction.
CS December 22, 2011 at 02:23 PM
BU December 22, 2011 at 04:45 PM
Robert was a nice guy who just fell on hard times & if you knew him you would know that he was a a very caring person.He was a carpenter and due to the economy there was barely any work for him to make enough to make ends meet. Fairfax County has no room for the homeless as I have seen families homeless for months trying to survive and living in hotels/motels paying out of their own pocket without the assistance of the government. MAYBE if you would have reported a FOUL SMELL to the Rental Office and the Police maybe the smell wouldn't be there and who knows Robert may have been able to be saved. Why would you be entitled to a rent reduction when it should have been reported immediately & is that part of your lease that requires them to clean a shared common area in the basement storage? TO BE CONT. BELOW
BU December 22, 2011 at 05:06 PM
Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Shelley Broderick needs to APOLOGIZE PUBLICLY to the family for stating such an inconsiderate and very harsh statement PUBLICLY " there appears to be no foul play in the death."It is just a person who died," "There is nothing criminal." By all Means Robert may not been a saint but he was a very kind person who helped others even if it was his last dime. No human being living or deceased deserves a statement to be said after they are found deceased. He was someones father,brother, uncle, cousin and someones friend. REST IN PEACE : ROBERT SPEARS (YOU WILL BE MISSED) **FAIRFAX COUNTY GOVERNMENT AND RESIDENTS INSTEAD OF JUDGING OTHER WE NEED TO HELP EACH OTHER WITH THE HOMELESS POPULATION ** FYI : DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE IS A WAITING LIST TO GET INTO THE SHELTER? WHEN YOU CALL YOU ARE INTERVIEWED TO SEE IF YOU QUAILIFY THEN TOLD YOU DO AND YOU WILL BE ADDED TO THE WAITING LIST. THEN YOU ARE TOLD TO CALL EVERY DAY TO SEE IF THERE IS AN OPENING AND SOMETIMES ARE TOLD TO CALL COORDINATED SERVICES ALSO KNOW AS 703.222.0880 AND ARE RE-INTERVIEWED AND SEE IF YOU EVEN QUALIFY. SO HOW WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO CHECK TO SEE IF THEY HAVE SPACE WHEN YOU ARE PUT ON HOLD ? **ITS A SHAME WE ARE QUICK TO JUDGE AND INSTEAD NOT HELP ONE ANOTHER** SMDH .... HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL... TO THE SPEARS FAMILY : SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS
Karen Goff December 22, 2011 at 05:10 PM
The police comment was to differentiate the situation from a criminal investigation. I am certain it was not a judgment call.
S.king December 22, 2011 at 06:15 PM
To all the ppl wit nothing but negative things to say may god bless yah with love in your hearts because Robert Spears was way more than a decomposing body he meant something to alot of ppl He was somebody to me i love you uncle Rob may u rest in peace
d December 22, 2011 at 06:57 PM
You were a caring person with a lot of love in your heart for everyone. You would go above and beyond for your family and close friends. You always had the best "quotes", and even though it seemed like no one was listening, I bet everyone can quote something you have told them. You are missed and loved out here Robert! R.I.Paradise!
Leo December 22, 2011 at 07:24 PM
It is ashame that someone would ask for a discount as if it was a dog loose or a dead animal !!! He was a kind soul and an angel who lived to help others . I understand about the smell but you should of called 911 I know for a fact that you are educated enough to say to your self, hey something isn't right!!! Reston shelter and the closet thrift shop are there to help themselves and look good because they really don't like to help the poor and treat them with the respect they need!! They choose who they want to help not who really needs the help, both places should be run by good people that really care about the homeless!! Carol price from Reston shelter and Aron the manager from the closet store in Herndon I hope you now feel bad about not wanting to help those like this man and many women with them homeless children!!!!
Leo December 22, 2011 at 07:32 PM
Rip Robert and may God bless the poor and the rich who are really here on earth to love,respect and help others in need!!!! I pray for the fam and friends of Robert that Gods hands touch your heart and heal them!! I also pray for those who talked real evil about this man, may God show you Marcy
D December 22, 2011 at 09:26 PM
DH You have wings now Robert, fly and look over the rest of your family who loved and cared for you. I was part of the Spears family for many years, through good and bad. I say rest in peace to Robert, love, blessings, peace and knowledge to the rest of the Spears that Roberts is with one of the man he loved best his father, his mother, and the rest of his family. While I am no longer a Spears I wish you all much love and compassion. To the rest of you regarding disclosures, smell and harsh words....in this day all I can do is shake my head, to the Police spokeswoman Shelley Broderick "It is just a person who died," she said. "There is nothing criminal." – the comment should have just been left there appears to be no foul play in the death. None of us know everything about everybody - keep in mind we are all human and while on earth we deal with worldly things only in the kingdom of heaven will we face our true maker. Judge lest ye be judged…… EVERYONE falls on hard times at some point in their life…..
th December 23, 2011 at 05:41 AM
Robert was a very sweet person and would give the shirt off of his back to anyone in need. He will be dearly missed... Hey shorty say hey to my dad for me. Hey shorty, say hey to my dad for me.
DM December 23, 2011 at 02:42 PM
I agree that communities should come together to help the homeless. My question is with so many friends and family members posting on here, how come he wasn't living with a family member or friend? Just curious. I live a on my own with my four kids and feel much neglect from some of my family and I guess I can associate it that way. Really don't understand how anyone can be aware of the situation, and not be like,"hey come stay with us for awhile."
Scott December 23, 2011 at 03:46 PM
My question is with so many friends and family members posting on here, how come he wasn't living with a family member or friend? DM - I was wondering the samething. Thanks for having the guts to ask that question!
R December 23, 2011 at 11:02 PM
A sad story, did not know this gentleman but via Fairfax County General District Court records, he was a troubled soul with substance abuse and criminal issues. I'm sure his family tried valiantly to help him, it appears that his demons got the best of him. Link mentioned above: http://epwsgdp1.courts.state.va.us/gdcourts/nameSearch.do?fromSidebar=true&formAction=searchLanding&searchDivision=T&searchFipsCode=059 Also see http://www.restonian.org/2010_04_01_archive.html
DM December 24, 2011 at 03:01 AM
Yeah I see the criminal history which is an alcohol problem basically, so if family couldn't help him by providing a home for him, maybe they could have intervened with getting him rehabilitated. I guess that isn't much help to talk about that now. I just hope that others out there will help if in a similar situation because it is sad to know that your family member could pass in a lonely storage room. I pray he is at peace now. And I did see the court records showed that he was "tried absentia" on the 19th for a resisting arrest charge from September- the day before they found his poor soul. Too sad.
kim young December 26, 2011 at 04:09 AM
I am sad that my childhood friend is gone, he was a very nice man and he had a big heart! He fell on hard times as many of us have and he had some skeletons in his closet that some have found to be more interesting than the fact that he died. How is it possible for anyone to smell him all that time and not report it to the rental office? If something doesn't smell right in my refrigerator I check it! You complain and you want to get a reduction in rent do you check your childs diaper when it goes to the bathroom #2. I would hope so! He was a person homeless maybe but there is no need to disrespect him. Do you really think he planned on dying in there? I send my condolences to his family! Just maybe and I'm just saying, he didn't want to be a burden to his family that may be why he didn't live with them. Yes, he had some issues but so do we when we care more about what we can gain when someone dies. RIP Robert (I loved you my friend unconditionally)
Gabriela December 26, 2011 at 04:31 AM
I live in the building next door. My mom and I are planning to make a pettition to get the codes to enter the buildings fixed, because it's dangerous to have it open for the public. It's there for a reason isn't it? I don't think they should have waited until something like this happened. My mom, a neighbor, and I are trying to see if we can get the petition by the whole neighborhood and sent to Lerner Coorporation.
George December 26, 2011 at 09:55 AM
We need to have much better treatment for addicts of drugs, including alcohol. In both short and long term this would save money and lives.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »