Las Vegas Sun

August 27, 2015

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Gold worth $7 million found in house after Nevada man dies

Walter Samasko Jr., a recluse, died at home in May, but his body wasn’t discovered until June, when neighbors complained of the smell coming from his house.

There was only $200 in his bank account. But there was a $7 million surprise at home.

As the house was being cleaned for sale, officials discovered gold bars and gold coins stored in boxes in the garage and in the house.

The coins had been minted in such places as Mexico, England, Austria and South Africa. Some dated to 1872.

There were so many coins that Carson City Clerk Alan Glover used a wheelbarrow to haul the gold to his truck and deposit it for safekeeping.

Samasko had no will and no apparent close relatives. He was cremated and his ashes were flown to Chicago to be placed with his mother, who moved with Samasko from California to Carson City. She died in 1992.

Using a list of those who attended the mother’s funeral, Glover’s office tracked down Arlene Magdanz, a first cousin living in San Rafael, Calif.

Magdanz, a substitute teacher, could not be reached for comment. But a lawyer who talked to her said her first reaction was, “Oh, my God. Oh, my God.”

She had not talked to Samasko, who died of heart problems, for a year and has no plans for how to spend the unexpected inheritance.

Samasko hadn’t worked since 1968, but he had stock accounts of $140,000 and $25,000 and was living off his investments.

“Nobody had any clue he was hoarding the gold,” Glover said.

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