Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September Puzzlement

Come evening there’s a chill in the air and it’s not produced by the wheezing AC unit that hangs from the window of FirstNerve Manor like a fat man mooning the neighbors. No, the chill is real, the days are shorter, and it’s no longer prime season for the retch-inducing olfactory discoveries that, like those bits of hog jowls in the scrapple, constitute the essence of I Smell Dead People.

You’ve been warned before, but to spell it out for clueless Web wanderers this most popular recurring feature of FirstNerve is, like pimento loaf and head cheese, an acquired taste. If you are squeamish go watch the goddamn sea gull video. Now.

The rest of yous will recall that our last installment featured bodies found in storage lockers in Oregon and Ohio. The trend continued this month with a bizarre twist, down at Uncle Bob’s Storage in Pensacola, Florida.
. . . authorities in Pensacola are investigating after finding human brains, hearts and lungs in a storage unit they say belonged to a former medical examiner. 
Someone bought the storage unit at an auction last week and noticed a foul smell as they were sifting through furniture and boxes. 
Officials at the medical examiner’s office in Pensacola say the remains of more than 100 people were found crudely stored in Tupperware containers, garbage bags and drink cups. . . . The unit had been rented previously by Dr. Michael Berkland. . . . Berkland worked at the medical examiner’s office from 1997 until 2003, when he was fired for not completing autopsy reports.
Paging Hester Mofet . . .

And since we’re in Florida:
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a death investigation in Tice. 
The body was found behind a closed car wash in the area of Palm Beach Boulevard and Flamingo Circle. 
Someone working in the area told investigators he came across the body after smelling a foul odor. 
The sheriff’s says the body was discovered in an area that is known to be frequented by homeless people.
This was the headline in the Chicago Sun-Times: “Police find body of man dressed as woman in abandoned West Side building.”
Police went to the building in the 4800 block of West Jackson Boulevard about 11:15 p.m. after getting calls of a foul odor, police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said.

Photo: Kevin Lynch

“Hey, where’s Joe been? He still owes me lunch from Monday.” In Texas, a
man’s body was discovered at the bottom of a smokestack at San Antonio’s former Pearl brewery after construction workers redeveloping the iconic complex reported a foul odor.
. . . the man was a white male around 30 years of age. San Antonio police Sgt. Javier Salazar says the man apparently had been dead for several days and is believed to have been a construction worker. He says the man apparently had been working on a construction project in a building adjoining the smokestack and appeared to have been inside a covered walkway connected to the smokestack when he fell about 20 feet.
Quietly Canadian—here is a rare episode from north of the border:
A badly decomposed body that appears to have been deliberately hidden in North Vancouver’s Lower Capilano neighbourhood this week may have met with foul play, according to investigators. 
Police were called to the scene just west of Capilano Road at about 5: 45 p.m. Sunday after a neighbour reported a foul smell to the North Vancouver RCMP. Investigators searched the area and found the remains in a wooded space off a gravel foot path that links Curling Road with Belle Isle Place.
Does Yonkers, New York ring a bell? It should.
Police in Yonkers are investigating the discovery of a plastic bag with remains that may be human. 
Police were called to a wooded area at Rossmore and Illinois avenues around 5 p.m. Tuesday where a suspicious bag with a foul odor was discovered.

“Wooded area” makes it sound almost rural—in fact, it’s at the end of a residential street. Here’s news video of a guy in the neighborhood who’s been smelling a “horrible odor” for the better part of a month—he thought someone might have dumped an animal . . .

“Say, folks, has anybody seen Bob since his trailer burned down?” From The News-Gazette in Rantoul, Illinois:
Authorities are seeking to determine the identity and cause of death of a man whose body was found nearly two weeks after a fire destroyed a Rantoul mobile home. 
Rantoul Police Lt. Jeff Wooten said a police detective investigating the fire — which destroyed a mobile home in the 1200 block of Cypress Lane in the Heritage Estates mobile home park on Aug. 22 — discovered the body inside the home Tuesday. 
The detective, who also serves as an arson investigator for the Rantoul Fire Department, was conducting a follow-up investigation of the fire when he noticed a foul odor at the scene and found the body inside the trailer. 
“The detective was out there doing some interviews (of neighbors) and started looking around the scene,” Wooten said. “That’s when he smelled this odor (and) he saw what he thought were some human remains.”
This incident from Conway, Arkansas, has a couple of odd features.
A foul odor lead Conway police to a badly decomposed dead body within city limits. The body was found near a lot next to McKinney Tire on Harkrider Street. A car with California plates was parked nearby for several days and may belong to the person whose body they found.
First O.F.: Conway is a long way from the Golden State. Was the deceased coming or going? Second O.F.: We’re not talking about some sparse rural area here—McKinney Tire is smack in the middle of a heavily trafficked area. Was nobody paying attention?

This episode from Eastlake, Ohio is quite weird. Lindsay Buckingham of Cleveland’s Fox TV station has the story:
The badly decomposed body of a man found Friday morning in Eastlake was confirmed to be that of shooting suspect Joshua Baughman, Eastlake Police Chief Larry Reik confirmed. 
The remains were discovered around 7 a.m. near the railroad tracks on East 365th Street. 
Police responded there after a resident reported a foul odor. 
The body appeared to have been there for a number of days, Reik said. 
Baughman, 20, is accused of shooting a 27-year-old Cleveland man in the parking lot of an Eastlake WalMart last month. Police said Baughman jumped in the man’s car and demanded that he hand over “everything he had.” 
He then allegedly shot the man in the side of the chest and fled the scene.
This story by Sadie Gurman in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette features the stench of decay but is more alarming for the picture it paints of social decay in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA:
Thelma Jones was washing dishes one night in late August when she heard gunshots in the woods outside her Wilkinsburg home. 
“It was so close it sounded like it hit my back door,” said Ms. Jones, 76, who “dropped everything I was doing and left the water on.” 
She called police. But days passed before neighbors, alarmed by a foul odor, discovered the decomposing body of George Anthony Cox Jr., 22, of Homewood, the 10th homicide victim of the year in Wilkinsburg, a borough that saw just two killings in all of 2011. 
Wilkinsburg was among the communities hardest hit by a spate of violence throughout Allegheny County this summer.
And finally, back to Vineland, New Jersey for another puzzling find.
Police discovered a dead body in a vacant home on Sixth Street Friday night and are attempting to determine a cause of death, officials announced over the weekend. 
Authorities were alerted Friday to a foul odor emanating from 602 S. Sixth St., an abandoned house with a boarded up first floor. 
Upon investigating, police discovered the body on the second floor.
Well, that’s it for this time. Until next time, stay alert and keep your nostrils open.

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