Monday, February 13, 2012

ISDP February 2012: Family Edition



A chilly February wind has been blowing pages off the desk calendar and before you know it (and before we can get that damned cracked window fixed) it’s the thirteenth of the month. Time to hunker down inside the camo Snuggie®, warm our hands over the Sterno® flame, and start pecking out our monthly collation of disturbing smell stories, each more grotesque than the last. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day®, so we understand that you may not want to spoil the romantic anticipation with a nose full of putrescence. But just as surely as Every Kiss Begins with Kay®, every ISDP™ begins with a foul odor.

We begin with an oldie from the cold case files of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. On April 3, 2004, a 59-year old San Gabriel woman named Donna Kelly was reported missing.
Nearly two weeks later her daughter was driving in Eaton Canyon County Park in Pasadena when she opened the trunk to investigate a foul odor. She discovered the deteroriorating [sic] corpse of her mother.
At the time, Donna Kelly was thought to be romantically involved with Richard Allen Munnecke, a former Tournament of Roses Parade Association director, who also happened to be married.

Homicide detectives recently obtained a DNA sample from Munnecke, now 71, and charged him with murder last Friday. Late word, however, is that prosecutors have decided to drop the charges citing insufficient evidence. Hmmm . . .

And the nominees are . . .

It’s only February, but we already have our first (and second!) Norman Bates Award nominees of 2012.

Lindsay Reed and Melonie Roberts of the Cassville Democrat have the first story. A 28-year-old Missouri woman starves herself to death. In her bedroom. In her father’s house. While her father is living there. For days afterward.
On Jan. 21, the body of Charity Coscia was found in the Seligman home of her father after her brother, Scott Coscia, of Purdy, called the sheriff’s department to report a foul odor in the home.
An autopsy revealed that the 28-year-old Ms. Coscia, who had a history of not eating, had died of malnutrition earlier in the month. The situation, which automatically puts her father, Peter Coscia, in the running for the Norman Bates Award, also presents a tough legal call for Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly:
“You can charge someone with abandonment of a corpse, but he didn’t leave the body. He was still living in the home,” said Epperly. “You can charge them with concealment of a corpse, but that really isn’t the case here.”

“You can also charge someone with leaving a corpse without promptly reporting it to law enforcement,” said Epperly. “That is probably what we are looking at.”



Our second Norman Bates Award nominee hails from Tucson, Arizona. According to ABC News, he “was arrested after a foul odor led police to discover he had been living with his mother’s decomposing corpse.”
The Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the body was that of Carmelita Aguilar, 47. Aguilar’s son, Christopher, 25, had been living with her body for an unspecified period of time.

“He was aware that a person was deceased inside the apartment and concealed the death for some time while continuing to live in the apartment,” Sgt. Maria Hawke of the Tucson Police Department said in a statement.
How did the aromatic clues go unnoticed by neighbors for so long?
According to an interim complaint filed in Pima County Justice Court, Aguilar said he found the body in his bathtub on Jan. 8.

The management at the complex complained of a foul odor, but the man [Aguilar] said it was the sewer near his apartment, the complaint stated.

Police found the body wrapped in plastic and covered in blankets.
Ah, the old blame-it-on-the-sewer gambit.

Department of Near Misses

A police blotter headline from the Cleveland suburbs of Mayfield Heights and Lynhurst: “No Missing Smell Coming From Apartment.”
A caller told police at 9:54 p.m. Jan. 28 that there were several “missed you” notes on the door of a Mayfield Road apartment and there was a very bad smell coming from inside. Police said the apartment was empty. Paperwork left in the apartment was from Lyndhurst Municipal Court.
Inquiring nostrils want to know: An innocent false alarm or did the authorities arrive after a body had been removed?

When the Tall Venti is Not So Grande

OK, campers, let’s review the safety rules one more time. Don’t try to break into a house via the chimney. And stay out of the air conditioning ducts, too.
A mummified body has been discovered inside an air duct in a French bank after workers had been complaining of a bad smell for several months.

Police and firefighters were last night attempting to dislodge the half-rotten corpse at a branch of Credit Foncier in Lyon, eastern France.

Investigators were trying establish if it was an attempted break-in that went wrong or a homeless man seeking refuge, according to a local prosecutor.
Why the delay in finding the unfortunate burglar/refugee? There’s an easy explanation: “The vent leads from the roof to a staff bathroom.”

We’re totally respectful of cultural diversity here at FN, so our general rule is that when French people, who in our experience have a high tolerance for BO and extremely stinky (though tasty) cheese, complain of a bad smell, it’s worth checking into tout de suite.

Down the Hall and to Your Left

We’ve all had our doubts about smelly public restrooms. This case will make you pause before stepping into a stall at the multiplex: “Decomposing Body of Missing Man Found in Movie Theater Restroom.”
The family of an elderly man who was found dead in a movie theater bathroom five days after he was reported missing is furious at the theater for not finding him after police asked the management to search the place.

George DeGrazio’s decomposing corpse was discovered after employees of the Colorado Cinemark 5 in Fort Collins noticed a foul smell.
That’s it for this edition. Time to put a lid on the Sterno and crawl back into the mummy bag.

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