CARSON CITY, Nev. — Walter Samaszko Jr. was a loner whose death went largely unnoticed. That all changed when a crew sent to clean out his house found a fortune stashed away in the garage of his modest ranch-style home.
There were ammunition boxes stuffed with thousands of gold coins, from Austria, Mexico and the United States. There was enough gold to fill up two wheelbarrows — more than $7.4 million worth.
"There was every kind of coin you could think of," said Alan Glover, the Carson City clerk and the public administrator of the estate who borrowed a neighbor's wheelbarrow to haul the treasure out.
City officials searched through records to find an heir: a substitute teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area who a judge declared Tuesday was Samaszko's lone surviving first cousin.
The decision means Arlene Magdanz of San Rafael, Calif., is a millionaire. She didn't attend the hearing and, so far, has not said anything publicly about her newfound fortune.