Unattended in Baltimore

At Advanced Biotreatment we always suggest that after the call to 911, after the police and coroner have left, that the family or loved ones of the deceased place their next call to us. We have the expertise and equipment to completely restore and decontaminate any scene where a bio-hazard incident had occurred.

Sometimes when people die, whatever the cause, their bodies are not discovered for a while. In the business I am in, we refer to this as an unattended death. These scenes can prove to be some of the most serious in terms of cleanup because of many factors… The smell of rotting flesh not being the least of them.

One call my office received earlier this summer involved one such cleanup.

The home was located in a high rise condominium in the middle of a upper crust neighborhood in the city of Baltimore, Maryland. The caller was the attorney and go between for a family whose loved one had recently been discovered deceased in their home and my services were needed to restore the condition of the property for resale.

Once we were in the hallway that led to the actual residence it became immediately evident that something had died from the overwhelming stench. It literally made my throat close and my eyes water but being a professional I checked the reaction and pressed on. The building’s superintendent met us at the front door, and judging from the greenish hue of his face he was feeling the effects of the odor as well.

Somebody called the office about a dead rat in the vents causing quite a stink’, he recalled as he proceeded to unlock the door, ‘but it wasn’t hard to figure out that it wasn’t no rat. That fellow must’ve been dead in that room for at least a fortnight. Healthy young buck like that just up and dyin’, now what do you make of that?’

The man seemed genuinely perplexed, but I’ve been doing this job long enough that I already had my suspicions.

Stepping into the home, the smell was ten times worse. And I don’t know how they find their way into an air tight space, but they do… hundreds of flies swarmed on the ceilings and walls as well as the bodies of their own dead scattered across the carpets. We followed the trail of insects to a back bedroom where a mattress soaked in putrid, brown fluid. Body fluid. As in, liquefied person.

The victim had lived alone, and the drug paraphernalia randomly placed around the room suggested that had been intentional. As we prepared the mattress for removal, carefully wrapping it in three layers of plastic, we found evidence to what might have caused John Does ultimate demise… a hypodermic syringe filled with a mixture of what looked to be coagulated blood and heroin.

Reasons to Call the Professionals

Now not only would we have to kill and remove all the flies, and properly remediate the scene to remove the unbelievably foul smell, but whenever intravenous drug use is involved at a scene we also must completely decontaminate for communicable illnesses such as staph, herpes, hepatitis, and HIV to name a few.

Luckily for us, but unfortunately of course for the victim, John Doe had died from an overdose in his bed, so the bodily fluid, and the major source of odor, was contained in the mattress. Once that was removed, cleanup went quickly and two days later we were handing the keys back over to the Super. The saddest part in situations like this one is the wasted youth and all the unanswered questions that remain.

Did his family know? Did they try to stop him? But these are questions that I’m used to never knowing the answer to.

If you’re handling the aftermath of an unattended death don’t worry, you are not alone. It’s not uncommon for several days, a few weeks, even months before an unattended death is discovered. During that time, remains begin to decompose, releasing tissue, bodily fluids and blood that seep into carpets and sub-flooring making cleaning and removal difficult. These substances can carry pathogens that cause serious infection and diseases while emitting death odors that permeate nearby structures, furnishings and personal effects. Advanced Bio Treatment offers professional death scene cleanup services.

If you need scene clean-up and decontamination guidance, have questions about your payment options, which clean up and decon procedures your current insurance policy covers or require our scene cleanup services immediately, don’t hesitate to give Advanced Bio Treatment a call at:800-295-1684.

Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment