A Senseless Tragedy Strikes Home

When her father did not show up for their weekly coffee date Tuesday morning, his alarmed daughter went to his apartment, to which she had a key, on the north side of Jacksonville, Florida. The front door was partially open. She immediately knew something was terribly wrong even before she peeked into the apartment. When she pushed the door completely open and entered, she immediately saw that the sliding glass doors were also open and the screen was slashed. Her father’s personal belongings were all over the living room floor. She did not yet know that her father lay stabbed to death in a pool of blood on his bed.

The victim’s daughter, of course, suffered unimaginable shock and horror when she entered her father’s apartment and saw this destruction and then his mutilated body. Was this a random robbery gone bad? Did the intruder assume that no one was home when he broke in? Did the intruder find the victim in bed asleep? Had there been a struggle? Had the victim suffered terribly before his death? These were just a few of the questions plaguing the victim’s daughter and adding to her pain and grief. As experienced Crime Scene Cleaners, we know that questions like these are common to survivors when tragedy strikes.

Arriving On Scene

When we arrived the next day, after investigators released the scene, the living room was a complete shambles. The couch cushions were slashed and ripped apart as if someone were looking for something. Debris and broken glass covered the living room and dining room floors, the glass coffee table was lying on its side, and two dining-room chairs also lay on their sides.

It looked as though whoever broke into this apartment was angry and determined to find what he came for.

In the bedroom, the mattress where the victim was stabbed to death was saturated with blood. We knew we could not salvage the mattress, so we wrapped it in plastic to contain any blood-borne pathogens and then removed it from the apartment for later disposal. Blood was all over the carpet in the bedroom as well. Because the blood had soaked through the padding and sub-flooring, the carpet and the padding had to be completely removed, packaged as bio-hazardous waste, and removed. Then some of the sub-flooring had to be removed and replaced.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

From the looks of the place and from what we learned from the victim’s daughter, the victim was an average man. There were no lavish furnishings or any personal belongings that indicated he had a lot of money. His daughter confirmed that he never used drugs or associated with people who did.

He was an older gentleman living on a small pension and social security. He lived a very quiet life.

We later learned that this was a case of mistaken identity. Drug dealers had broken into his apartment to retrieve stolen drugs and when they could not find them, they killed the man they believed was the thief.

Every Day on This Job Is Different

Every job is unique. When we are called to a crime-scene cleanup, we never know what we will find. When we get the initial call, we get only a summary of the details, such as “this is a suicide with blood and bodily fluids present.” We could be walking into almost anything from a moderate blood splatter that takes an hour or two to clean up to a decomp (decomposed body) that requires full bio-hazard suiting up, filtered respirators, and chemical boots and may take us two days to clean up. We also have to be prepared to deal sympathetically with a hysterical, grief-stricken family.

Our technicians have to be prepared for the worst because very often, the job will involve the worst.

Depending on how extensive the job is, we may be gone a day or two, sometimes longer. The hours can be brutal. Crimes and suicides are not scheduled, so neither are our hours.

The calls come in at the last minute regardless of what we have planned in our personal lives.

The job is often emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting. It takes a heavy toll on marriage and family. But our technicians are carefully chosen and trained. They know these hardships come with the job, and when they are on call, their personal lives take a back seat to the lives of our clients. The first priority for our technicians is doing a thorough job and making the tragedy that they are cleaning up as easy on the family as possible.

Safety First

Regardless of the extent of the cleanup, a scene where biological material, like blood, bodily fluids and tissue, is present must be properly decontaminated because human feces, urine, and blood are all bio-hazardous and pose significant risks to human health.

To ensure proper decontamination of the scene, you should call an experienced crime-scene cleanup company, which has the necessary professional-grade equipment and chemicals to insure more than just a cursory cleanup but also, and most important, complete decontamination.

But because crime-scene cleanup is an unregulated business, you should be very careful WHO you hire.

Advanced Bio-Treatment professionals are thoroughly trained in the decontamination and remediation of crime scenes, accident scenes, suicides, unattended deaths, and all levels of hoarding cleanups. We will work with your insurance company, which usually pays most or all the costs of the cleanup.

Most importantly, Advanced Bio-Treatment strictly follows all EPA, OSHA, and state guidelines for cleaning, packaging, and removal of bio-hazardous material. We take no chances with your safety or our own.

If you ever find yourself in the tragic position of our client in Jacksonville, Florida, please let us help you. If you have questions about decontaminating a scene that contains blood or other bodily fluids, about your payment options, or about what your current insurance policy covers, please don’t hesitate to give Advanced Bio Treatment a call at 800-295-1684.

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