Monday, June 26, 2006

How long before they look for your body?

It took this guy's family a week to look for his body in their shed! This story has so many life lessons, it is hard to compile them all. Don't lock your keys in the shed, don't try to climb through a hole to small for you if you do. Tell your family what you're doing so if you get stuck they can help you.

This poor guy did the calculation for the price of his life and decided that he was worth less than the new lock he would have had to buy when he cut through the old one to recover his keys locked in the shed. Darwin Award anyone? From the article:
The state Medical Examiner's Office ruled Charles Whitaker's death accidental, said Jay Lynch, of the state Department of Health and Social Services.

Navarro said Whitaker had apparently locked his keys inside the 8-by-8-foot padlocked shed and climbed a stepladder to try to get in under the mesh-lined soffit extending over the sides of the building.

"He was able to get his shoulders and arms through before getting stuck," Navarro said. "It appears the victim may have suffocated after becoming lodged in the shed's rafters."

Navarro said the victim was last seen by family members June 14.

Whitaker's father, George, said he was not initially concerned about his son's whereabouts, thinking he had gone to the beach with friends as he occasionally did.
The story goes on to say that the victim lived at the same house and took care of his aging parents (George, quoted above). The shed was in the backyard of the very house they all lived in and they still didn't find him (look for him) for a week! As is usual with these stories, the smell of the body led a neighbor to discover it. There is a deeper story here we may never get to know. I also prefer the phrase "death by misadventure".

To this day my mother insists that we call her when we get home after visiting at her house. Most of the children live some distance away and who knows what could happen on the trip home (think pessimistic Italian mother thoughts). Based on that tradition, I created a measurement called the "time in the ditch factor". If you crash your car into a ditch on a deserted road, how long before somebody starts looking for your body. If you live alone or your family is used to you "going off to the beach with friends" it could be a long time. But if you follow Mom's rules, the search parties will be out momentarily. In the interest of full disclosure I should admit that I always forget to call when I get home. I hope I don't regret it someday.

(Tombstone generator, I found myself!)

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The Virtual Ranger said...

That tombstone generator rocks. Very good! And what a daft story. I liked your game-theory analysis of his motivation. My suggestion: his aged but cunning parents got fed up with this constant disappearing to the beach, and decided to commit the 'perfect crime'...

Ps - yr link at the top is bust.

Richard Koehler said...

The link is fixed. I appreciate virtual rangers attempt to supply plausible scenarios for this horrid story.