The Case of the Exploding Corpse
WEST PALM BEACH (CN) - A condo association in Jupiter, Fla., let a corpse sit undiscovered for so long that it exploded, ruining a neighboring apartment with putrid effluvia, a woman claims in Palm Beach County Court.
Judy Rodrigo claims the Keystone Condominium Association let a neighbor's corpse fester for so long that the buildup of corruptive gases caused it to explode, and the liquids leaked into her unit.
Rodrigo says the condo association failed to replace common elements of the building that were tainted by the liquids, and she was forced to pay for renovations herself.
The association gutted the decedent's apartment, but Rodrigo says the stink remained.
She says she paid for work on her ceiling and walls, which should have been covered by the association's insurance.
In an interview, Rodrigo's neighbor Nicholas Colangelo said the deceased woman lived alone and had no family. Her body was discovered after a noxious odor filled adjacent units. Maintenance men forced open her apartment door and found her body almost two weeks after the presumed time of death. Her puppy was picking at the corpse, the neighbor said.
"I don't know how the dog stayed alive. It must have been at her for some time," Colangelo said.
It was a mess, he said. The decay process apparently had progressed past the stage known as bloating, in which gases generated by bacteria in the abdomen accumulate. The gases had become trapped by the collapsed organs, steadily building pressure. Eventually, the abdomen burst, releasing the fluids and gases.
Colangelo says there was no foul play suspected. The woman died of old age. He says she moved in after her last known family member, her mother, passed away in the same apartment.
Rodrigo demands reimbursement for the money she spent cleaning up her condo. She is represented by Roy Jordan of West Palm Beach.