More than two weeks after John Wuerffel's uninhabitable home was sold at auction, no one is certain the longtime Schaumburg resident who often lived outside the house has heard the news.
Schaumburg police Sgt. John Nebl said village inspectors and social workers who've long been in frequent contact with Wuerffel haven't heard from him since November.
The Daily Herald's efforts to reach Wuerffel on his cellphone over the past four days have been unsuccessful.
Hoffman Estates-based Right Residential bought the foreclosed and damaged house on Hampton Lane just before Christmas for $35,000. The firm aims to restore it to an estimated $175,000 value more typical of homes in that neighborhood.
Notification letters have been sent to the house, and a court date at which Wuerffel is expected is coming up in the next few weeks. But Right Residential's Executive Vice President Christopher Shaxted said Wuerffel has provided no acknowledgment of any of the notices.
Many of Wuerffel's belongings are still in the house, and Shaxted said his company wants to help him relocate as many items as he still wants.
Although the 63-year-old Wuerffel legally owned the house until very recently, the village of Schaumburg to declared it uninhabitable a couple years ago in part because its utilities had been shut off.
The village in 2010 won a court order allowing it to forcibly clean up the inside and outside of the property, which officials said had become a health hazard for the neighborhood. The residence, officials say, had become a floor-to-ceiling storage space for items Wuerffel said he intended to sell to recyclers as his only source of income.
As a result, Wuerffel often slept in a car parked in the home's driveway when weather allowed. When temperatures turned cold, he frequently stayed in shelters.
Wuerffel, who originally bought the house in 1971 with his then wife, said his health began to decline in 1999. He said he takes medication for both bipolar disorder and a heart condition, and that his medical bills gradually wreaked havoc with his finances over the past dozen years.
In the summer of 2010, he said he owed about $1,500 in late utilities and $9,600 on the mortgage that already was well into foreclosure proceedings.
Wuerffel has sometimes traveled out of town or spent significant periods in the hospital, but his present whereabouts is purely a matter of speculation, officials said.