Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Smell Dead People: Brass Monkey Edition

It’s the middle of February and in much of the country cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. Perhaps that has something to do with the record low number of ISDP cases this month. They are so scarce we had to stretch the rules to include the first one.

Our standard is that a foul odor sets off the chain of events leading to the discovery of the deceased. A police department “wellness check” is usually disqualifying as it implies that suspicion has already been aroused by non-olfactory clues. However, we decided to go with this item because the opening sentence, by Florida Times-Union reporter Scott Butler, is a classic:

A routine wellness check for Fernandina Beach police turned into a strange and morbid discovery Thursday morning.
The incident occurred at the Buccaneer Villas on Lime Street in Fernandina Beach, just below the Georgia state line on Florida’s Atlantic coast. When 36-year-old Warren P. Straniti answered the door officers smelled a foul odor. They found the remains of his 46-year-old female “roommate” who had been missing for a week.

An autopsy failed to find “any evidence of injury or trauma.” Straniti has so far been charged only with failure to report a death and is in jail with bail set at $500,000.

[Note to First Nerve Committee on Prizes: list Straniti as a possible 2010 Norman Bates Award nominee.]

In January, this time at an apartment complex in Tallahassee, Florida, a foul smell led residents to a container near the laundry room dumpster, where they discovered the remains of a newborn baby. Police are questioning a woman they believe is the mother.

Any readers planning a trip to London? Check out the new Bloody Queen Mary feature at the schlocky London Dungeon tourist attraction—now featuring the recreated smell of burning Protestant martyrs!

No comments: