10 Curious Places Where Corpses Were Discovered
There are certain locations you might expect to find a dead body, such as a gruesome, blood-splattered crime scene or an alley in a particularly nasty part of town. At the very least, you probably wouldn’t be too shocked to find a floater in an isolated swamp or river. Nor would it seem odd to hear of a corpse turning up in a landfill or out in the woods.
But sometimes, dead bodies end up in places you wouldn’t imagine. This can be the result of a murderer’s poorly planned method of disposal or even the victim’s own warped ideas. However it was they got there, dead bodies were found in each of the odd locations listed below.
10 Overturned Couch
Alan Derrick and Dennis Pring lived in the same neighborhood and became drinking buddies. When Pring lost his home and had nowhere else to go, Derrick offered him a place to stay. Pring slept on Derrick’s couch, but he failed to wake up one morning. The 73-year-old had passed away in his sleep.
Derrick feared telling authorities of his friend’s demise would get him in trouble. Derrick lived in subsidized housing near Bristol because of his learning difficulties, and he wasn’t supposed to have a roommate. Not wanting anyone to find out about his unapproved guest, Derrick decided not to tell anyone about Pring. He overturned the sofa his friend’s body was on and went on with his life.
About a year later, Derrick’s neighbors lodged a formal complaint about the smell emanating from his apartment. A woman came to investigate the source of the odor and attributed it to the overflowing toilet in Derrick’s bathroom. She noticed the overturned couch in the living room but didn’t feel the need to check underneath it.
In 2008, Derrick moved out of the apartment. A cleaning crew came by to prepare the place for the next tenant and discovered Pring’s corpse. The body had been lying there for ten years. Derrick was not charged for failing to report his friend’s death. The lodging program adopted new protocols for checking on their tenants.
9 Motel Bed Frame
James and Rhonda Sargent rented room 222 at the Budget Lodge in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 29, 2010. It smelled awful, despite the fabric softener sheets strewn around the room in a futile attempt to mask the stench. The Sargents alerted the motel staff, but nothing was done about it. They endured the smell for three nights.
Sony Millbrook had also rented room 222 at the Memphis Budget Lodge. It was a temporary residence she shared with her boyfriend and children. On January 27, 2010, Millbrook was reported missing after she failed to pick her children up from school. Police arrived at the motel and were informed by the staff that Millbrook had failed to pay her bill, so she had been locked out of the room. Police did not inspect the room she had been staying in. It wasn’t until March 15 that motel staff finally investigated the smell in room 222. The body of Sony Millbrook was discovered inside the bed frame, in a box underneath the very bed the Sargents had slept on.
The Sargents were not the only ones to sleep on top of Millbrook’s body. The room had been “cleaned” and rented out at least three times after the woman went missing before her corpse was discovered. Millbrook’s boyfriend was ultimately charged with strangling her to death before shoving her inside the bed frame. He was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
8 Gun Safe
It is well-known that a gun can be used to kill someone. It turns out that a gun safe can be fatal as well, if you shut yourself inside one for some reason.
Christopher Darden was reported missing in 2013 by his estranged wife after she and other members of his family were unable to reach him for two days. Police entered Darden’s Bowie, Texas, home multiple times to search for clues that might explain his disappearance. Nearly a week after police initially entered Darden’s home, they arrived to search again and noticed the distinct odor of decay. They traced the scent to a large gun safe located in the bedroom closet. When police pried the safe open, they found Darden’s body.
After an autopsy, Darden’s death was ruled accidental. The medical examiner determined that he suffocated as a result of the lack of oxygen inside the gun safe. As for the reason Darden shut himself in the safe in the first place, the cocktail of methamphetamine, pain pills, and muscle relaxants found in his system is believed to be to blame.
7 Air Duct
Moe Hoq managed a gas station in Palm Beach, Florida. On September 1, 2015, Hoq arrived to open up for the day and discovered the lower half of a dead body dangling from the ceiling.
The man, identified as Derrick Collins, was lodged halfway through the opening of an air duct. The 45-year-old had a long track record of theft. He’d served time in prison on four occasions, and he clearly had no intention of changing his ways because it seems he was attempting to rob the gas station when he became stuck in the air duct. The air duct drops into the store from the roof, and Collins must have thought it was a good access point to reach the snacks, beer, and cash located inside.
Unfortunately for him, the duct tapers as it descends. Collins was able to squeeze into the narrow passageway from the rooftop easily enough, but he became stuck when he tried to make it all the way into the store. Collins suffocated in the vent.
6 Nightclub Utility Closet
Spotlight Live was a popular karaoke club located on Times Square in New York City. The club often hosted celebrity parties during its brief existence and was the site of rapper Lil’ Kim’s 34th birthday bash during the summer of 2008. The party was open to the public, as long as they were willing to pay the cover fee. Ingrid Rivera, a Lil’ Kim fan, was one of these paying guests. Rivera drank a little too much while celebrating the occasion. Security asked the woman to leave after she tried entering the men’s restroom.
Rahman Syed, a club employee, saw Ingrid being escorted out of the party and offered to sneak her back in. Syed took Rivera to the rooftop, but instead of helping her reenter the party, he tried to seduce her. When Rivera turned him down, Syed reacted violently. He beat the woman with a metal pipe before stuffing her body into the club’s utility closet.
Rivera’s family filed a missing persons report after she failed to return home from the party. Police searched the club and reviewed security footage but failed to find her. Two days later, one of the club’s maintenance men discovered Rivera’s body inside the utility closet. While conducting interviews, police were pointed in the direction of Syed after another woman described fighting off the club employee’s aggressive advances. Rahman confessed to murdering Rivera and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.
Months before Rivera’s murder, Spotlight Live was also the scene of a fatal stabbing during a parking lot brawl. The club closed in 2009.
5 Disneyland Haunted House
Haunted houses at theme parks typically feature fake ghosts and corpses. At a haunted house in Disneyland Paris, however, a real dead body was found in 2016.
The body was that of a 45-year-old male technician. The man had been an employee of Disneyland Paris for more than ten years and was well-liked by other staff members. He was working on the lighting in the haunted house attraction before the park was set to open. A coworker noticed his absence and went to check on him, ultimately discovering the technician’s lifeless body lying on the floor. It is believed that he died of accidental electrocution.
The attraction, called Phantom Manor, resembles the Bates Mansion from the movie Psycho.
4 Hospital Stairwell
Dead bodies are common in hospitals, but they are typically accounted for, not stumbled over in a stairwell.
Lynne Spalding was admitted to San Francisco General Hospital on September 19, 2013, to treat an infection. Two days later, Spalding was reported missing after her hospital room was found empty during a scheduled bed check. The sheriff’s department conducted a search, and friends and family posted flyers throughout the surrounding neighborhood. Spalding was disoriented and confused due to her condition. It was thought she may have left the hospital and tried walking to her apartment, which was less than 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) away.
More than two weeks later, Spalding’s body was discovered in an little-used exterior stairwell of the hospital.
Multiple mistakes were made by both hospital staff and the sheriff’s department. A doctor had ordered Spalding to be under constant surveillance because of her disorientation, yet she was only checked on every 15 minutes. When notifying the sheriff’s office of her disappearance, a nurse described Spalding as an African American wearing a hospital gown. Spalding was Caucasian and had changed into her street clothes before leaving her hospital room.
A doctor spotted Spalding’s body on October 4. The sheriff’s department was called, but they did not follow up on the report. Her body was not officially discovered until four days later, when a maintenance employee found her during a routine stair check.
The autopsy showed that Spalding had been dead for several days. Her death was attributed to dehydration and liver complications caused by alcoholism.
Spalding’s two adult children filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of San Francisco. They received a $3 million settlement, and the hospital has since initiated new security procedures.
3 Snake’s Stomach
Akbar Salubiro disappeared from his small Indonesian village in March 2017. It is believed he was on his way to harvest palm oil the night he went missing. Local villagers recall hearing cries coming from the palm grove during the night.
When Akbar failed to return by the following evening, his neighbors and family became concerned. They searched the palm grove Akbar worked in but did not find the young man. However, they did see a reticulated python that looked suspiciously full. When the villagers captured the python, they could see the outline of Akbar’s boots through the snake’s stomach. The python was cut completely open, revealing Akbar’s intact body.
The snake that swallowed Akbar was 7 meters (23 ft) long and weighed 158 kilograms (348 lb). Reticulated pythons are not typically considered a danger to humans. They normally avoid people, but they are attracted to palm groves because the areas often contain critters such as dogs or boars.
2 Stove Top
Magdalena Aguilar Romero was a divorcee with two children living in Taxco, Mexico. On January 13, 2018, she left the home she shared with relatives, telling them she planned to bring her children back from her ex-husband’s house later that afternoon. She never returned.
Her family became concerned and reported her missing. Police went straight to the ex-husband’s house. Magdalena’s body was found simmering on of top the stove, cut into pieces and placed inside pots.
Authorities believe the crime was not a result of ex-marital discord or an argument over custody. Rather, they suspect “femicide,” where the motive is directly related to the gender of the victim. According to a women’s rights activist, femicide occurs because men believe a woman’s life is worth less than theirs or because they feel ownership over a woman’s life.
Mexico is one of many Latin American countries with rising rates of gender-driven murders. There were 671 cases of femicide reported in Mexico during 2017, an increase from the 580 cases reported in 2016. It is believed the actual numbers are even higher.
1 Hollow Tree
Tina Herrmann was a single mother of two who worked at a Dairy Queen in Ohio. On November 10, 2010, the typically reliable Herrmann failed to show up for her shift and wasn’t answering her phone. Her boss became concerned and notified authorities. Police arrived at Hermann’s house to discover it empty and covered in blood splatters.
A search led police to the home of Matthew Hoffman, where Herrmann’s 13-year-old daughter was found bound and gagged in the basement. Hoffman was arrested for kidnapping. While in custody, he provided the location of the girl’s mom and brother. The corpses of Herrmann, her son, and a close family friend were found inside a hollowed-out tree. The three bodies had been stabbed repeatedly and stuffed into plastic garbage bags. Even Herrmann’s miniature pinscher had been killed and hidden inside the tree.
Hoffman was a tree trimmer. His neighbors described him as a strange man who built fires on his front lawn to roast squirrels before eating them. Hoffman committed the murders not long after being released from a Colorado prison. He had been serving a term for arson and burglary.