The last thing Evelyn Sakash did on her Facebook page was on August 16, 2020. Sakash updated her profile picture to a photo of a cute puppy. In September, Sakash’s sister Ellen Brown reported her missing, and a friend set up a GoFundMe page:
Brothers and sisters, our sister Evelyn Sakash has been missing since September 2020. Evelyn’s sister Ellen Brown has been paying out of pocket to supplement law enforcements’ investigative resources. So many of us have asked, “what can I do to help?”. Please consider making a donation to this Go Fund Me page so Ellen and the rest of Evelyn’s family can find the answers they desperately seek. With the cold weather upon us, it is more important than ever to find Evelyn and reunite her with everyone who loves her. Thanks, everyone!
On Tuesday, Evelyn Sakash was found dead in her home. A cleaning crew discovered her in the kitchen, underneath a pile of garbage. Sakash was 66.
The New York Daily News, which followed the missing persons case, broke the story of her death:
A long-missing Queens woman never escaped her trash-strewn home, with the hoarder’s decomposing remains found buried beneath an avalanche of trash seven months after her sudden disappearance.
The body of Emmy-winning set designer Evelyn Sakash was finally discovered by her sister Tuesday afternoon and investigators believe she died in an avalanche of garbage and debris inside her filthy College Point kitchen around the time she disappeared in late September, sources said.
In September, New York was still reeling from the pandemic lockdowns and the George Floyd protests. With thousands of deaths caused by COVID-19, along with the burgeoning homicide rates, the social and criminal justice systems were fully overwhelmed. So, it is unsurprising that Sakash’s missing persons case slipped through the cracks.
According to the New York Daily News, Sakash’s cause of death was natural. She succumbed to arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Being trapped underneath a pile of garbage with no means to get help was more than likely the tipping point.
The victim’s home on Wednesday included a sink filled with filthy dishes and rooms piled high with other debris and a stench wafting from the residence. Neighbors said Sakash kept dogs and cats in the home, with police emptying the home of her pets without locating the body during one of at least two visits to the residence over the last seven months.
“This is just devastating,” said the tearful sister, Ellen Brown, 60. “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.”
Sakash’s career was an illustrious one. She was a set designer for television and movies, from Taxi to Orange Is the New Black. Sakash won a 2003 Daytime Emmy Award for Between the Lions, a children’s series that ran for 10 seasons between 2000 and 2010. According to IMDB, Sakash’s last major credit was on the 2016 TV movie, Once in a Lifetime.
Madeline Hartling, the organizer for the GoFundMe account updated the site:
Dearest loved ones of Evelyn. Our beautiful sister Evelyn was found deceased in her home yesterday, Tuesday March 30th. At this time, a cause of death has not been determined.
Evelyn’s sister Ellen Brown has retained the cleaning company that found her and must now plan Evelyn’s funeral as well. I would like to double the Go Fund Me fundraising goal to $20,000 to assist Ellen with these expenses, which will be large. Please consider making a donation in Evelyn’s memory so we can support Ellen and remember her as the kind, loving, and generous friend and sister we live and will miss so. Thank you!
Madeline O’Connell Hartling
Donations have increased since the news of Sakash’s death.