The Fiction Factory (the_book_of) wrote in little_details,
The Fiction Factory

body in swimming pool

Setting: Phoenix, Arizona circa mid-September 1984

Premise: Character A (late twenties, average height and build) is killed, and her body is left in a swimming pool in an outdoor courtyard.

Search Terms: I'll be honest -- I was kind of scared to Google anything about dead bodies because there would be some nightmare-inducing Image Search results. I did read up on buoyancy of the human body and several of the Wikipedia articles ending in "mortis," so I have some basic knowledge of the science involved. I also read the previous posts to this community regarding decomp.

Behind the cut, questions about how corpses behave in water.

I haven't finalized how the character is killed yet, but it will be either poisoning or suffocation -- nothing that will leave any open wounds. The body is left floating face-down in the swimming pool a few minutes after death, around midnight; she is fully-clothed (in a skirted suit, probably flannel).

So here are my questions:

1) Between rigor mortis, decomp, and the clothing becoming waterlogged, about how long do I have before the body sinks? I need the body to still be at or near the surface when someone finds it, so I can adjust my timeline to fit this requirement.

2) Given the environmental variables -- heated/chlorinated water, late-summer-night-in-Phoenix weather, the orientation of the body -- how long would it take for the body to bloat or decay noticeably? Assuming that the body is found within six hours of death at most (or however long I have before the body sinks), what kind of condition is it going to be in? Is there going to be a smell, and if so, is it going to be relatively faint or closer to the "pervasive and nausea-inducing" end of the scale? Is the face still going to be mostly recognizable, or will swelling/lividity make visual identification difficult?

(Please warn for any links/resources that include photographs, because I'm trying to avoid those.)

Thank you in advance for your help.
Tags: usa: arizona, ~forensics: corpses, ~water

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