1. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    Dead body undiscovered in house - admin process?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Noya Desherbanté, Nov 10, 2010.

    Grim and sad as it might be, I'm writing a story at the moment which involves an elderly woman dying quietly in her sleep in a house where she lived alone and lying undiscovered for maybe a few days. I can come up with reasons why she might have been found (milk bottles piling up in front of the door, etc) but I need to know the details of what would happen after she was discovered - principally about who would come in to clean up and sort her belongings (my old lady has no relatives or friends who would want her things):

    - I'm assuming the police, the first authority a concerned neighbour would turn to, would perhaps break down the door when there was no answer? Would they have a paramedic with them to determine cause of death? Or a coroner, even if they were only 80% sure she was dead?

    - If it was found she died in her sleep, would the body be removed immediately?

    - Right, this is the important bit. I have heard that when there is a decomposing body involved, a team of 'cleaners' are called in to sterilise the scene (just like the scene of a murder - I only watched half of Cleaner, with Samuel L. Jackson, and now I wish I'd stuck with it... :rolleyes:). Would this be a separate company contracted by the police? What would they do first? If the body was badly decomposed, would they deal with it, instead of the coroner, or are they only there strictly to clean up what's left after the body is moved?

    My old lady lives/lived in the UK, if that is of very much importance, but I can't see procedure varying that much to that deployed across the pond or anywhere else. Any help is grreatly appreciated! :D
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...yes... but first they'd check to see if there was a landlord who could let them in...

    ...no... since they wouldn't know there was anyone in there, they'd check it out first, only call paramedics if an ill or injured person was found on the premises... however, if the body lay there for several days, the odor would be a dead give-away [pardon the pun!] that a death had occurred...

    ...police are certainly trained to know a dead body when they see one... especially if it's been dead for days... the nose knows!... in which case, the coroner would be called in by the patrolman on the scene, as well as a detective, if there was any indication it was anything but a natural death...

    ...there'd be no way to be sure of that, short of an autopsy... but if all the evidence on the scene left no other conclusion to be drawn, then yes, the body would be taken away by the medical examiner, for an autopsy, if one was indicated...

    ...since no crime was involved, it would be up to the deceased's relatives or the owner of the house to do that... and in either case, it would be a private company, not connected to the police department...

    ...only the me/coronor can deal with the body, which would have been removed and the property officially 'released' by the police department, before any cleaning service would be allowed to come in...

    ...i'm sure it would be close to the same on either side...
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think my information could be out of date and relates to finding bodies on archaeology sites (basic rule was rebury the bloody thing the paperwork is horrendous lol not that it actually happened).

    There has to be a coroners report on any dead body - a police investigation will occur into any body which maybe suspicious under 60 years old. An autopsy happens for any unknown cause of death where a Dr has not been consulted within a certain period of time (think it is 10 days). Depending on the type of door these days a member of the fire brigade maybe needed or a landlord to breach the door etc. The body will be taken to the morgue and I don't think it is by the clean up crew - I think it is undertaker or ambulance.

    Can't help much beyond that - the bodies I got to deal with were decomposed but beyond the need of a clean up team lol
     
  4. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    Great info, guys! Really helpful! :) mamma, I especially needed that bit about whether the clean-up crew were called in by police or, as it turns out, relatives, thank you... and Elgaisma, how interesting, an archaeologist? ;) I'm hoping, cross-fingers, I'll get to study that at university... always had a fascination for dead things really, the deader the better when it comes to cleaning them up!! :D
     
  5. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    To add to what Elgaisma wrote, the body would be taken away in the normal way, by the ambulance service to the local morgue where an autopsy would be carried out. If the person died of natural courses then the police would not be involved.

    If no relatives were found then the body would be handed over to the local council who would incinrate the body. The council would be the ones who cleaned up the property and removed all personal possessions.
     

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