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Stone pillars more the entrance to the home of the late George Konnight in Ramapo, N.Y. / Peter Carr, The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- George Konnight lived like a hermit when he could have lived like a millionaire.

Ramapo, N.Y., police Tuesday identified a 79-year-old man found dead outside his rural house as Konnight, who had lived alone since his sister's recent death on what once was the family farm.

Despite having few possessions in the run-down house, Konnight had banked $3 million from the sale of about 31.5 acres of his family's property in northern Ramapo to a New Jersey company, JIEM Properties, in November. His sister, Alice, was listed as the seller.

Konnight's skeletal remains were found Friday in the woods on his property, Ramapo Detective Lt. Mark Emma said.

Police went searching for him with canine units after a neighbor reported last seeing him two to three weeks ago walking along a nearby road. A Ramapo police officer found the decomposed remains.

The Rockland County Medical Examiner's Office is doing an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Emma theorized he most likely died of a medical condition as he walked the property.

"He lived a very simple life, hermit-like," Emma said. "He had his attorney and another man looking in on him now and again. He was alone."

Emma said Konnight walked to the road through the woods. If he needed to travel he did so by taxi.

"He'd wander through the paths and woods," Emma said. "It looks like he cut his own firewood. He had one light. The house was in disarray. People could have thought the house may have been abandoned."

Eugene Erickson, 82, a neighbor since 1956 who had gone to school with Konnight and one of his two sisters, said he knew the family but they didn't socialize or speak much.

"They lived like recluses," Erickson said. "Nobody knew them. They lived by themselves. I'd say hello to George and maybe got a wave. You never got much in return as far as answers from him."

Konnight and his sisters were tight-lipped when it came to family members, recalled Beverly Moore, 75, a Suffern resident who said she's a distant cousin.

Moore said she hadn't seen Konnight or his siblings since a funeral of her grandfather in 1973; she did not know the two sisters, Alice and Anna, had died or that George had died Friday.

"They kept to themselves," Moore said. "They didn't ask anyone for anything, as far as I know."

Moore recalled visiting the Konnight farm as a girl. The house was far off the road back in the woods and there always were props or tree limbs blocking the dirt road, she said.

"You'd scream for them to let them know you were there and they'd come out on the porch, sometimes," she recalled. "We never made it to the house. They didn't have many friends or even a telephone."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: 'Hermit' found dead was secret millionaire

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