Couple Found Dead, Monkey Guarding Bodies

PHOTO Authorities say the bodies of a man and woman were found in a suburban Orlando home along with dozens of exotic animals.ABC News
Authorities say the bodies of a man and woman were found in a suburban Orlando home along with dozens of exotic animals.

Police are trying to figure out what happened to two people who were found dead Saturday in an Orlando, Fla., home, surrounded by dozens of pets, including dogs, cats, birds and four exotic monkeys.

One of the monkeys was holding on to one of the two people and would not let go, police told ABC News affiliate WFTV in Orlando.

A family member called police after finding the two inside their home in College Park, police said.

Police identified the two people as Kathryn Whitson and her boyfriend Walter Simpson, both 72. It had not yet been determined how they died, but foul play was not suspected, police said.

VIDEO:Animal-Loving Couple Found DeadPlay

"You can't really describe how you feel when you respond to something like that, especially when you have two people dead and you don't know why," Orlando Police Sgt. Barb Jones told WFTV.

Police and Orange County animal welfare agents had been to the home before to investigate reports of squalid conditions in the house.

WFTV reported in 2006 that animal control had to take almost 30 cats from the home, and county officials said at the time that the pets were living in filth.

After police arrived at the home on Saturday afternoon, neighbor Bernie Bogdon told WFTV that he thought it was because of the animals living in the house.

"I feel sorry for the animals because that's not exactly the best living condition," Bogdon said.

Orlando Police, Orange County Animal Control and Florida Fish and Wildlife had to clear the animals out before officers could start their death investigation, and they said they found dirty conditions in the home.

Neighbor Stephanie Nagy told WFTV that she has known the elderly couple for more than 20 years.

"You just can't believe that your neighbors are dead in their house and they're obviously been in there for a while," said Nagy. "It's horrifying."

Joseph Beard, a volunteer with the Apopka-based CARE Foundation, a nonprofit wildlife sanctuary, told the Orlando Sentinel that the couple's four monkeys all seemed to be in good condition, though they appeared to be stressed.

Monkey Found Guarding Dead Florida Couple

He told the newspaper that CARE will keep the monkeys -- a spider monkey and three capuchins -- until they can be examined by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Though officials said the conditions in the home could have been better, Florida Fish and Wildlife Lt. Jeff Hudson told the Sentinel that Whitson had the proper permit to keep the monkeys.