Homeless Man Found Dead Was Heir To Copper Fortune

12/31/12 12:04PM EST

Homeless Man Found Dead Was Heir To Copper Fortune Homeless Man Found Dead Was Heir To Copper Fortune

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The adage “a day late and dollar short” took on new meaning for a homeless man whose body was found Dec. 27 by a group of Wyoming children. Timothy Henry Gray, 60, apparently died of hypothermia, never knowing he was heir to an American fortune.

Gray was the adopted great-grandson of former U.S. Sen. William Andrews Clark, a banker, railroad industrialist and founder of Las Vegas. Clark was also one of Montana’s copper kings and passed on a multimillion-dollar fortune to his youngest daughter Hughette Clark, who died in 2011 at the age of 104. Clark’s relatives have been challenging her will in New York court and, should they win, Gray’s estate will be entitled to about $19 million before taxes—6.25 percent of Clark’s fortune estimated at about $307 million. If no will exists, Gray’s share will be divided among his siblings.

When the court battle over Clark’s estate began, lawyers attempted to contact Gray, but could not locate any trace of the man but an abandoned storage locker. When private investigators could not find him a public administrator joined the lawsuit on his behalf.

Although Gray died homeless, the coroner found a cashier’s check for a “significant amount” in his wallet dated 2003. His older brother Jerry told NBC News Gray had worked as a cowboy and lived in the Rocky Mountain States most of his life.

He was homeless essentially,” Jerry said. “If we had proper mental health services in this country, we could have notified and known to do something.”

Ironically, the last 40 years of Hughette Clark’s life were also spent as a recluse. She reportedly spent more than 20 of those years in New York hospitals with a collection of dolls.

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