Apex man found dead at bottom of stairs, with dead cat in freezer, suffered stroke

Wake County sheriff’s deputies have concluded that a man found dead at the bottom of a staircase in Apex died after having a stroke, getting tangled in his Christmas lights and landing on a pet kitten.

Deputies arrived at 3506 Lexham Court on Monday to discover Fran Oudshorn “supine” on the floor with blood on the walls, a staircase handrail and under his body, according to search warrants made public Friday. A family friend and property records say the man’s name is spelled Frans Oudshoorn, 56.

Investigators spoke to his son, who had called 911 to report the death. He told investigators that he came to the house on the prior night to find a dead cat in the bathroom, warrants said. He wrapped the cat and put it in the freezer.

He then described finding his father at the bottom of a staircase, wrapped in Christmas lights, the warrants said. He cut his father loose from the lights, brought him a pillow and a blanket, then left with his girlfriend.

When the son returned the next afternoon, warrants said, his father was dead.

“He told them what happened to the cat is the same thing that happened to his dad,” according to the investigator’s report.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Eric Curry said Friday that their investigation showed Oudshoorn had been taking down Christmas lights when he had the stroke and fell on the kitten, breaking its back.

The son discovered them both, Curry said, and “Knowing he was going to have to deal with a deceased father, he put the cat in the freezer knowing that he was going to bury the cat at a later time.”

A final report from the N.C. Medical Examiner’s office is pending.

Josh Shaffer covers Wake County and federal courts. He has been a reporter for The News & Observer since 2004 and previously wrote a column about unusual people and places.