1. JackLUFC
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    JackLUFC Member

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    Question about bodies in water

    Discussion in 'Research' started by JackLUFC, Aug 16, 2013.

    Hi,
    In a story I'm writing, a police boat is sent out to pick up a body found floating in water. What would be the procedure for this, however? Surely they wouldn't simply fish the body out the water? Would it be picked up by an ambulance and taken to a coroner's office upon docking on land?

    Cheers.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It would just be fished out, then placed in a body bag for delivery to the coroner's or medical examiner's office (some differences in the qualifications of MEs vs coroners).

    Here's the thing to keep in mind, people sink once the air leaves their lungs. Then about 2-3 days later the decomposition results in gas from the bacteria metabolism that bloats the body, causing it to rise to the surface. Such bodies are pretty gross and if in the water too long macerate and can come apart when they are being recovered. Also bloating bodies can literally pop with body fluids oozing out.

    Under some conditions bodies do not decompose and may not surface:

    While that is a lay person blog, the information is accurate.

    Here's a source of autopsy findings for victims recovered from water that might be useful.


    When I was looking around I found they have certified cadaver dogs that specifically locate bodies in water. :)
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Read Patricia Cornwell's The Bone Bed for an example. She brings up a number of considerations taken into account in recoveries from water.
     
  4. JackLUFC
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    JackLUFC Member

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    Thanks for the reply. Just for more information, this body is fished out of San Francisco Bay a few days after being dumped there already dead. what would be the approximate condition of the body, do you know?

    appreciate your help.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    On day three in cold salt water, a body would be bloated and discolored, but perhaps not all that decomposed yet.

    Those links I posted should answer the question you are asking.

    Did you read the one on autopsy findings? :)
     
  6. JackLUFC
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    I did, and it was very helpful, thank you.
     

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