Lee (paintedveils) wrote in little_details,

What happens to a corpse in the water?

Setting: Present day, southern California

Previous Search Attempts: This Slate article gives a pretty comprehensive answer to the behavior of dead bodies in the water, and includes links to more detailed sources. Super relevant to anyone with questions how to tell whether a body was dead before going into the water or not, how to tell if someone was a drowning victim, etc.

I've also Wiki'ed "Drowning," Googled variations of "What happens to bowel bladder of drowning victim," and also turned up a semi-helpful PowerPoint link called Death by Trauma that includes an informative section on Drowning - very science-y and technical (too much so for my purposes). Nothing is said about the bowel/bladder.

What I want to know is, does the body void itself (bowel and bladder) in the water as it would on land?

I've confirmed that it often will on land (depending on different scenarios), but I haven't been able to determine whether this will happen if a person drowned and the body was left in the water for 6-7 hours at least. Let's say the water is fairly temperate/warm, it's a contained pool of freshwater, and outdoors.

Any help would be great! Thank you!

ETA: This community is the BEST. Answer seems to be unanimously that the body WOULD void itself in the water.

Extra Follow-Up: What would a body left in the water smell like when retrieved from the water?
Tags: ~drowning, ~forensics: corpses
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