Wednesday, January 7, 2004

I Don’t Think Lysol Will Help

From the Sun-Sentinel, which is turning out to be the most interesting paper I read every day.

Woman thought liquid dripping from ceiling was rust, not blood

DAYTONA BEACH — A woman who lived for three months in a home where a decomposing body was stashed in the attic mistook stains on her kitchen tile as rust leaking from the ceiling instead of blood.

Robyn Cooper discovered Monday night that the stubborn orange marks may have been from blood plasma from the human body decomposing in the attic.

Cooper said she doesn’t want to stay in the four-bedroom duplex apartment any longer. “I’m afraid somebody’s going to get me,” Cooper said. “But I can’t afford to move.”

Daytona Beach authorities found human remains in the single mother of four’s home after two men and a woman ran into her attic while fleeing police. Cooper’s boyfriend, Zachariah Sanders, 31, and Ben Gibson, 26, and Darlene Reed, 21, were hiding upstairs when police came looking for them.

As police began looking, she said, Gibson suddenly came from out of the attic entrance, a panel along the bottom wall of Cooper’s daughter’s room, and shouted, “There’s a dead body in there!”

The remaining fugitives emerged from the attic and were arrested. Later, authorities removed the remains of a human body tucked into the attic insulation.

Gibson, Sanders and Reed were wanted on probation-violation charges, Daytona Beach police spokesman Sgt. Al Tolley said.

Cooper said she has been complaining to Daytona Beach City Commissioner Charles Cherry, who manages the property, about a foul smell she could not find the source of or get rid of since she moved into the house.

Cooper said when she told Cherry about blood on the carpet in her daughter Samira’s bedroom, he said it was likely from a deceased pet.

Cherry said he has managed the property for years and that the apartment was vacant for four or five months before Cooper moved in. According to Volusia County property records, Peart and Associates Inc., own the building.

Cherry said Cooper has never complained about the apartment to him.

“Obviously it was there before she got there,” Cherry said.

This story was actually sent to me by a friend, who’s comment was, “They all need to be neutered…the mom, her criminal boyfriend, his criminal associates, and the Daytona Beach City Commissioner involved.”

[Update 1/8/04 – 9:39: Thanks, Trish and Steve; corrected to “neutered.”]