Friday, February 13, 2015

ISDP: Sixth Anniversary Edition

The scent alarm on the steampunk astrolabe in the living room just delivered a puff of cadaverine to remind us that today is the thirteenth of the month and time to roll out a new edition of I Smell Dead People. As if we needed reminding: date is auspicious. Today is Friday the 13th, and it was exactly six years ago today—on Friday the 13th, 2009—that that we posted our premier edition. Six years of chronicling gruesome discoveries prompted by the scent of decay. Ah, good times, good times.

Today’s collection of the olfactory macabre is an especially violent one. (Happy Valentine’s Day, BTW). But we begin with a rather featureless case at the Alexander Courts apartment complex in Dothan, Alabama, where a complaint about “a foul smell” led police to a dead body in one of the units. The deceased: white male. The cause: natural.

Out in Los Angeles things took a darker turn: “Elderly couple, adult son found decomposing in LA apartment.”
Their apartment manager entered the home in the 1100 block of Crenshaw Boulevard at about 3 p.m. Saturday because of a strong odor, police said.
(We have said it before: being an apartment manager is not a job for the squeamish.)

The case appears to be a double-murder-suicide. The son was 54 and his father 86. The exact cause of death has not been determined.

And on to our final item, as initially reported by KZTV in Corpus Christie, Texas: “A complaint about a foul smell led officers to a badly decomposed body.” The body in the house on Paul Jones Avenue was in an advanced stage of decomposition and the cause of death unclear.

On further investigation, the body turned out to be that of an adult woman and police treated the case as a homicide. The victim’s 15-year-old son was considered a suspect and he was arrested.

The eventual release of the arrest affidavit contained troubling details. The police first went to the home on a welfare check, not because someone reported the smell of decay. According to the Rules Committee, this disqualifies the incident for ISDP.
Holden Clark answered the door. His face and neck were bloodied. Inside the home, officers found the decomposed body of Clark’s mother, Pamela Clark, stuffed in a trash can in the kitchen.
Hmmmm . . . On the bright side hat means Mr. Clark may still be eligible for the Norman Bates Award™.
a friend of the boy went to the home and saw the body. The document says Holden Clark told that friend that he shot his mother and then dragged her body to the kitchen. The friend allegedly saw the body stuffed in a trash can. That friend later contacted another friend, who then called police.
Well, kudos to the other friend, at least.

Longtime ISDP fans know this isn’t the first case of living with the remains following a matricide. Recall 16-year-old Kit Darrant of Miami, Florida, who police say choked and stabbed his mother to death and lived in the home for another eight days. He threw some laundry detergent on the body to mask to odor before having friends over to party. The episode earned Mr. Darrant a nod for the 2012 Norman Bates Award.


Tara C said...

Not sure if the entries are USA only, I was hoping to see mention of the abandoned crematorium in Mexico that was found with multiple rotting bodies in it which the neighbors reported to police due to the foul odor. :-)

Avery Gilbert said...

Tara C:

You have a discerning nose for news!

ISDP is US-focused but now and then we bend the rules and include extra bizarre items from abroad. And our Norman Bates Award program has an Overseas Division.

But to your main point: the 60 bodies decomposing in the crematorium in Acapulco was a tough call. We might have included it because of the sheer magnitude. On the other hand, there's a shooting-fish-in-a-barrel aspect to smelling decomposition in a crematorium. And where do we draw the line? Are Ebola-related incidents in Africa in or out? In the end, we decided that Acapulco wasn't sufficiently in the macabre-yet-unexpected spirit of the "body under the bed" or "New York death" scenarios that got the whole ball rolling.

That said, we are chagrined to have disappointed a loyal ISDP fan. Next time we will err on the side of inclusivity.