Friday, August 12, 2011

ISDP: Long, Hot Summer Edition

It’s been a hot month. Muggy and oppressive. And the thirteenth of August has rolled around again like a fat repeat customer at the cotton candy booth on the midway. That means it’s time for a new edition of I Smell Dead People, the internet’s most complete compilation of gruesome olfactory discoveries. Fair warning: ISDP is an acquired taste like cocktail olives, cilantro, and hot pickled okra. It’s not for everyone. Maybe you should go visit your FarmVille acreage and count your unicorn herd instead. But if you think you have what it takes, read on.

Our first report doesn’t count as a deceased person being discovered by olfactory means, but it is a related, and rather unusual case from Albany, Kentucky. WBKO reporter Caitlin Coffey has the story: “A bad smell coming from a cemetery in Clinton County has been causing problems in the area for at least three weeks.”
[Pastor Larry] Jones and his wife have been battling an odor emanating from a mausoleum at the Central Grove Cemetery in Albany, Kentucky.
The problem?
Shirley Lovelace, 59, passed away a little over a month ago and was buried in an above ground tomb without being embalmed. Also, according to Jones, she was only placed in a body bag. (. . .) Jones says he has contacted the funeral home, the coroner’s office, and multiple agencies to find a solution to the problem.

“We wound up talking to the Attorney General’s Office, and they said there is no law against this type of burial in Kentucky,” he says, “But what people don’t realize is these tombs have vents on them and the odor is horrific.”

The funeral home says they followed all rules and regulations and even double checked with the state board before burying Lovelace.
According to Jones, the smell “can only be described as a dead animal but much worse.”

A woman’s body was found in Louis Armstrong Park on Basin Street in New Orleans last Thursday morning, when a person walking a dog “noticed a foul smell” and went to investigate. Police believe the body was that of a homeless person.

There has been a rash of DBs discovered in cars and trucks this year. This month brings another vehicular incident involving, like several previous ones, a Walmart parking lot. The location is Springfield, Missouri, where “a Walmart shopper noticed an overwhelming foul smell” coming from a red Ford Focus. The deceased was a 45-year-old woman.
Police tell KSPR News the woman’s car had the keys in the ignition, but the battery was dead. Officials suspected the car had been running when the battery died.

According to officials on the scene, no obvious signs of foul play were detected, however the investigation is ongoing. An autopsy is scheduled for the next week.
In Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, on July 15:
police removed a decomposing body that was discovered in the trunk of a car in the Trinity Lutheran Church parking lot.

Shortly before, someone reported an abandoned vehicle that had a foul odor coming from it.
The body is thought to be that of a woman whose family reported her missing a week earlier. Police do not suspect foul play; people living in cars are known to sleep in the trunk and this one was equipped with an emergency latch.

Our vehicular theme continues with this succinct headline: “Body, wrapped in blanket, found in a minivan.”
Detectives on Monday were investigating the discovery of the body of a 23-year-old man inside a minivan in South Philadelphia.

Police were called to 10th and Jackson Streets at 5:23 a.m. Sunday on a report of a foul odor emanating from a green 2000 Mazda MPV minivan. In the backseat, they found a man’s body, wrapped in a blanket.
Our vehicular theme takes us next to Florida, which continues to live up to its top ranking as an ISDP state:
Police are investigating a body found in car in Winter Park. Residents at the Tranquil Terrace Apartments called police after noticing a foul odor near an area of the parking lot. When investigators arrived, they tracked the odor to a car.
The death is considered suspicious by local detectives. Another story identifies the deceased as a 29-year-old woman.

Here’s another one from Florida:
The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a death at a Pensacola Beach residence reported this weekend.

At about 11 a.m. Saturday, deputies responded to a report of a foul odor coming from a unit at Starboard Village condominiums on Fort Pickens Road on Pensacola Beach.

Inside the condo, deputies found a woman’s body in a state of decomposition.
And yet another in Florida, with an odd twist: the body was that of a man who had locked himself inside a shed.
Deputies think that after a man got kicked out of a home near West Melbourne, he found shelter in a neighbor’s backyard shed, locked it and died.

After noticing a foul smell about 8 p.m. Monday, area residents found human remains behind a home at 48 Paul Rene Drive.
It’s a long, sad, story, enlivened by a bit of local color from Lt. Bruce Barnett of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office:
“In Florida, remains can become skeletonized in as little as two weeks,” he said. “Especially with the heat we’ve been having, it speeds up the process even more.”
Here at FirstNerve, we are interested in ISDP false alarms: since they are relatively rare it implies that when people smell the proverbial foul odor, they usually make the correct inference. From the crime blotter of Carlsbad, near San Diego:
CARLSBAD: A person reported a suspected dead body inside a storage unit on Tyler Street because of a foul odor and flies in the area. Police found that was not the case, 7:29 p.m. July 27.
Folks in Carlsbad seem to be a little on edge lately. Here’s the next item in the crime blotter:
CARLSBAD: A woman parked in a Circle K parking lot was loudly playing Alanis Morissette music, disturbing the neighborhood at 2:36 a.m. July 26. She turned down the music after police approached her.
Well, good!

In southeast Houston, Texas, a not-so-rare double ISDP: a case of mother and adult daughter. The deaths may have been heat-related as the house lacked a working air conditioner. Here’s a piquant detail:
A pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses reported a foul odor emanating from that home in the 5800 block of Ardmore Street on Aug. 6.

Houston Police and fire department officials arrived to find the bodies around 11 a.m., according to an HPD statement.
On reflection, it’s remarkable that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t discover a lot more such cases.

And finally, from Winthrop, Massachusetts:
Police are investigating the discovery of a body found under the porch of a Winthrop home

Authorities say they found the decomposing body on Tuesday afternoon after receiving reports from neighbors about a foul odor.

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