body decomposition

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Offline prometheus

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body decomposition
« on: 09/04/2003 01:12:06 »
Without wishing to appear gruesome, I am wondering how long it takes a body to fully decompose in the earth? I imagine it will vary depending on the soil, the environment and whether the body is in a casket or embalmed?

For example, if we're landscaping our garden, will the pet dog we buried 10 years ago be clean bones or might it still be a nasty, gooey mess?
 

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Offline NakedScientist

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #1 on: 09/04/2003 08:40:38 »
Dear Prometheus (or should that be Fred West ??!)

there is a really good piece by forensic archaeologist Dr. Corinne Duhig who gave an interview on The Naked Scientists on 7th April 2002 - you'll need RealPlayer to hear it, but she addresses this kind of question :

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/html/shows/2002.04.07.htm

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Offline pat

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #2 on: 09/04/2003 08:44:27 »
Great topic - anyone know, on a related theme, how soon after burying someone you can use the same grave site in a church yard ? What's the risk of diging bits of people up !!
 

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Offline prometheus

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #3 on: 23/04/2003 12:21:02 »
Thanks, people. Will check out the link!
Now can anyone tell me the best way to remove bloodstains from a carpet?
;)
 

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Offline saddam hussain

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #4 on: 24/04/2003 11:25:51 »
You're not looking for work are you, by any chance ?

I have an er...decorating and paving job that needs doing...quite quickly actually...!

Sad-dam H
 

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Offline Exodus

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #5 on: 02/06/2003 00:39:33 »
I knew a great guy who could have helped you, his name was fred something... Fred...               West, thats it...

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Offline lulu

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #6 on: 05/06/2003 11:31:44 »
hi
at school we're discussing the quote from the bible "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" and the significance of dust in our world and how the bible says that god made man from dust.
When i looked up dust on the net this site came up so i was wondering if anyone could please help me. We have to write an essay on it and its quite hard.
Your help is greatly appreciated.
Thankyou
my address is: black_koffee112@hotmail.com
 

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Offline Exodus

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #7 on: 05/06/2003 16:12:32 »
perhaps you can explain exactly what the essay wants you to refer to? Do you need information on dust itself or its relation to the aforementioned bible quote?

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Offline mbdick

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #8 on: 30/06/2003 13:17:02 »
I am A dyslexic artist so prepare to be confused
can any body help
I want to both monitor the decomposition process ie gasses, liquids ,types of, amounts etc and to desplay these on screen using sensors
secondly  I would like to run a kinetic sculpture from the available energy so which animal could i use to give out roughly the same  gasses liquids as a human body (experiment )

by the way has any body got freds address
 

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Offline Quantumcat

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #9 on: 01/07/2003 12:13:37 »
"The Secret Life of Dust" was a book recommended in the NewScientist a while ago.

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #10 on: 01/07/2003 19:02:36 »
Wow. After reading through here, I was curious who Fred West was. Yuck! I looked it up and am sickened. I don't recall hearing about that one. We have our "local boy goes bad" here too, but I guess they didn't broadcast Fred here.

There is a man in Tennessee, USA that his job is to mutilate and rate decomposition of cadavers for the CSI teams. He puts 'em in different scenarios and calculates the effects. He has a plot of land that is covered with carrion...Yum.
Here's a link to an article about "The Body Farm".

http://www.exploratorium.edu/traits/bodyfarm.html

Enjoy. With lunch.
 

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Offline Donnah

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #11 on: 03/07/2003 23:35:17 »
The body farm site is very interesting.  Have you ever smelled a decaying body?  It's G-R-O-S-S[}:)]!!!
"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms." - Audrey Hepburn

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Offline chris

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #12 on: 03/07/2003 23:43:34 »
Donnah - when did you smell a decaying body then ? [:p]

Chris

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #13 on: 04/07/2003 08:52:53 »
I don't want to sound sick, but, I think the smell of decaying flesh has a somewhat sweet smell. Like a syrup. Why is that? Or, is it just me? Should I seek help?

I went to an autopsy once and it really made me ill. I've seen several greusome things, but the autopsy really got me. I wonder why a dead body in a controled environment affected me so differently than the gore (as a military photographer)I'd seen at other times.

Just a thought.
 

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Offline Donnah

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #14 on: 06/07/2003 00:16:23 »
Chris - I was out riding my horse, who smelled it first.  When his ears went forward and he snorted I turned him in the direction he was looking.  We crested a hill and whew-e-e, then I smelled it.  It was a bovine carcass that had obviously been there a while and supplied numerous coyotes and critters with a meal.

Another time we surgically retreived embryos from a Simmental that had cancer in her eye.  When I prepped her for surgery the rotten flesh around her eye was pretty stinky, but it was the sound of the maggots in there that grossed me out.  I couldn't understand why someone would keep their cow alive with that kind of ailment just for money; disgusting.  We put her to sleep.
"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms." - Audrey Hepburn

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Offline george

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #15 on: 06/07/2003 14:20:14 »
Nice story.

But aren't maggots viewed as beneficial in medicine. I heard somewhere that 'maggot-therapy' could be used to clear up certain infections or something ???[?]
 

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Offline nilmot

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #16 on: 06/07/2003 14:46:39 »
Yeah I think I've heard that before, maggots eat the rotten flesh or infected flesh on or around the wound and leave the wound clean afterward. I don't know why they don't eat the flesh itself if they are carnivorous?

Tom
Tom

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Offline Donnah

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #17 on: 06/07/2003 16:56:53 »
Yes, maggots eat putrid flesh and certainly reduced the smell, but the sound was quite distinct and I mentally connected that sound to the cow's suffering.
"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms." - Audrey Hepburn

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Offline chris

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #18 on: 06/07/2003 23:47:41 »
You mean you could HEAR the maggots chomping away ?

Chris

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #19 on: 07/07/2003 00:45:28 »
I have maggot-o-phobia. I can handle anything but maggots and scorpions. I'll scream like a little girl if I get around either. I also have "toilet-over-flowbia" the fear of the toilet overflowing. Especially if I'm a guest.
 

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Offline Quantumcat

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #20 on: 07/07/2003 01:27:04 »
hahahaha, I'm sorry but that is funny. I have this list full of phobias and their names, maybe one of the is maggotphobia

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #21 on: 07/07/2003 05:02:16 »
I can't explain my problem in this area. I hate / fear maggots but flies don't bother me. I know that they're just baby flies. I like babies but not too many adults. I like tomatoes but hate ketchup and tomato products. I'm just all messed up.
You should share some of that list on here. I find phobias very interesting...especially the obscure ones.
Just a thought.
 

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Offline nilmot

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #22 on: 07/07/2003 09:03:00 »
Ronnie, I'm the exact opposite, I absolutely hate flies and maggots don't bother me that much. I like ketchup but not always the tomatoes because sometimes they can be a bit sour.

Tom
Tom

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #23 on: 07/07/2003 09:52:29 »
Interesting how people differ, Tom. I really enjoy social studies and different cultural differences. I love how some things in the US are "taboo" in other countries and vice versa. It's the small character differences that I find so fascinating. I'm compelled by personalities, likes and dislikes, creature comforts and the so called norms of different societies and how they are so different in all areas. Some people love clowns and some are petrified by them. The durian fruit, for example. Cheese in other countries and all the rites and rituals of some cultures. Some cultures tattoo their infants and some leave them with baby-sitters. Both are considered inhumane by the other culture, yet perfectly alright by their own. Beef here, no beef in India. The list goes on and on.
Maybe we could "bridge the gap" by cooking up a maggot encrusted durian with melted cheese to dip in ketchup with a side of beef in tomato sauce.
just a thought.
 

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Offline chris

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #24 on: 07/07/2003 10:09:36 »
When I was in Beijing, China, I wandered along the street market watching people prepare and eat deep-friend scorpions on kebab sticks, deep fried cicadas (also on kebab sticks), deep fried entrails (on kebab sticks), deep fried chicken feet (free floating !).

I didn't try any though. The prospect of Mao's revenge (gut rot) didn't appeal.

Chris

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #25 on: 07/07/2003 17:03:43 »
Yuck!!! I guess it makes it ok if it's on a kebab stick. Find something repulsive, put it on a kebab stick and fry the hell out of it. Voila! Something tasty.
 

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Offline nilmot

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #26 on: 08/07/2003 20:13:49 »
Oh yes, we the Chinese culture have many delicacy. I think it's becuase we grew up having to eat those sort of thing so we feel alright about it. For example, duck's tongue which is not as bad as it sound and entrails such as livers, kidneys, and hearts.

Deep-frying them on a kebab stick? We cook then in a pan or wok and add various ingredients (generally herbs)to it to make it tastes and looks excellent. You won't even know it's some pig's kidney. [:D]

But I have to admit, some of the stuff Chinese people eat are strange.

Tom
Tom

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #27 on: 08/07/2003 21:34:21 »
I live in Texas, USA and we have a strong Mexican influence. I've dated Mexican girls and found out that dinner should never be questioned. Strange things are cooked up and eaten there. I just enjoy it if it's good and don't want to know what it is. If I can still tell what it is after it's been cooked...ie, tongue or brain, I refuse. However, if it's chopped up, fried or on a kebab, I'll have two. [:)]
 

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Offline Donnah

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #28 on: 09/07/2003 00:15:57 »
Chris, yes I could hear the maggots, but I think the sound was their bodies wiggling together.  There had to be hundreds, maybe over a thousand in her eye (I guess the barnyard isn't the best place to live if you don't want flies laying eggs).  I don't know, maybe it was their chompers tearing at the flesh.  

The guys I worked with thought it was very funny that I didn't realize her condition and was eating my lunch when I approached her.  
« Last Edit: 09/07/2003 01:18:55 by Donnah »
"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms." - Audrey Hepburn

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #29 on: 09/07/2003 03:59:00 »
Thanks, Donnah. I was eating when I read this just now. I stress... WAS eating.
 

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Offline Donnah

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #30 on: 09/07/2003 15:16:23 »
Well maybe we should form a club.  I was eating cherry pie when I read about Fred and Rose West.
"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms." - Audrey Hepburn

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #31 on: 10/07/2003 05:49:27 »
Ick!
 

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Offline Quantumcat

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #32 on: 11/07/2003 11:44:35 »
What is Fred and Rose West?

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #33 on: 11/07/2003 15:35:28 »
Quite the pillars...err, killers of society. Grab a cherry pie and settle down for a good read. I found them on the net in a London paper archive. I forgot the link, but they came right up when I searched. Good luck.
 

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Offline weirdo_decay

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #34 on: 12/08/2003 13:16:25 »
[font=Comic Sans MS][/font=Comic Sans MS]
the thing with fred and rose wasn't that bad i mean albert fish kid nappeded kids tortured them cut them up slowly and then ate the good parts in a soup. a really crazy man he used to also get his kids to torture him to like get a brush like thing with hard nails hammed in it and make them hit him since he enjoyed pain so much.
[:0]


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Offline Broca

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #35 on: 28/08/2003 21:35:12 »
I had reason to work with a corpse that had been buried, in his coffin for just under 7 years. The stench was strong, but there was a remarkably slight decomposition. Some bone was apparent in some areas and in others there was only a wrinkling of skin. To keep the transfer of stench down, we simply removed the parts we needed down to the bone, took the bones to another room and then returned them when we were finished perusing them.
 

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #36 on: 28/08/2003 21:51:10 »
Yuck! Can you share the reason?

Welcome to the family.
 

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Offline Broca

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #37 on: 28/08/2003 21:58:14 »
Thank you for the welcome! In an early career choice, I was a nuclear technologist. I had to help find a cause of death for an insurance company so that this rather well off gentlemans wife and family could claim double indemnity from the life insurance policy. The experience was rather interesting although not something I would endevor to do everyday!<smile>
I think that due to their wealth, they could afford a more expensive coffin so the deteriation was not as vast. I guess Tupperware as opposed to the generic knock off! <grin>
 

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #38 on: 28/08/2003 22:33:54 »
Hahahaha. Canning cadavers....not a bad idea.

I'm donating my body to science. I've already made the will for this. 1. I don't want to take up precious space. 2. I don't want my family to have to do all the expensive and time consuming work of a funeral. 3. It's the ultimate recycling. If a young doctor can learn a thing or two by cutting me up....great! They probably will throw out my liver, lungs and spinal cord.(Too many additives) [:)]
 

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Offline anita

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #39 on: 02/11/2003 03:52:24 »
hello is anyone there?
anita hoover

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Offline anita

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #40 on: 02/11/2003 03:53:59 »
hello is anyone there?

anita hoover
anita hoover

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Offline chris

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #41 on: 02/11/2003 13:42:00 »
Yes Anita

we're here !

Chris

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Offline Donnah

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #42 on: 02/11/2003 23:24:39 »
Welcome Anita!

Ron, they would never throw out your liver, lungs and spinal cord.  They are far too useful[}:)] as Christmas ornaments with that lovely green glow[^]!
"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms." - Audrey Hepburn

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Offline Ians Daddy

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #43 on: 03/11/2003 05:02:53 »
No doubt, Donnah. There's some deep research opportunity in those organs. I may get a tattoo that warns of wearing chemical gloves when disecting.[:)]
 

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Offline Inker

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #44 on: 28/11/2003 16:50:20 »
I need an answer...My brother disappeared 8 months ago. November 20th he was found about 60 yards from where his car was left. He was last seen on March 25,03. From March 26 up until the day he was found dead people were within 5-150 yards of him daily. Authorities say he committed suicide. I can deal with this but not without several questions answered first. My first question is this....Can people be that close to him without smelling anything? He was found covered in a blanket, but I'm having trouble believing that would cover any smell. No vultures...and my best friend, who is a nurse, walked right by him and didn't smell anything. Is any of this possible?
 

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Offline Inker

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #45 on: 29/11/2003 18:02:10 »
Have I asked a question that no one wants to answer? Or,since I am new, maybe I just don't know where to find it.
« Last Edit: 29/11/2003 18:03:18 by Inker »
 

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Offline tweener

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #46 on: 30/11/2003 02:09:59 »
Inker, be patient.  This is a forum, not a chat room, and some people only check in every few days.

I claim no expertise in this area, except having grown up on a farm and thus being around dead animals once in a while. I can't imagine that after a few days there wouldn't be a noticeable smell.  Unless of course it was very cold and little decomposition was taking place.  I've seen deer that died in the winter not smell hardly at all because they decomposed very slowly, and I suppose dessicated more than decomposed.  If people are around a lot, the vultures won't be around much, but other small animals (coyotes, rats, coons, skunks) depending on the location will also eat on the body.  If the body was found with few or no marks from animals, it might not have been there very long, unless it was in an area where there are very few wild animals.  

Are the authorities saying that he died at about the same time he disappeared?  It sounds like it from your original post.

I really don't know .  I'm sorry about your brother and I sincerely hope that you get some answers to your questions.


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Offline Inker

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #47 on: 30/11/2003 16:35:27 »
First I'd like to apologise for being inpatient on a reply. I have not received official word on what forensic has concluded. This I should get in a few days. The body was found in an abandoned warehouse where the roof was caved in. There were doors in place though, so animals unable to crawl up concrete block walls could not get in.As of now, they believe he has been dead since March(when he disappeared).All this took place in Alabama at the end of March when it's not very cold. Thanks for your concern. I guess I'm just trying to be a little more educated on the topic when they present their conclusion.
 

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Offline tweener

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #48 on: 30/11/2003 23:59:46 »
I think it is wise to educate yourself.  But don't let anything become an obsession.  That will just cloud your judgement and could ruin your life.

Good luck!


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Offline Donnah

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Re: body decomposition
« Reply #49 on: 01/12/2003 19:31:43 »
Welcome Inker.  I'm sorry you lost your brother in such an awful way.  The warehouse may have masked the smell with other smells.  There are many people who don't have a good sense of smell, or wouldn't recognize the scent of decaying flesh.  Have you been there to see what it is like now?  Have they ruled out foul play?  Hopefully forensics will answer your questions.
"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms." - Audrey Hepburn