In May 2021, in a suburb of Barcelona, father and son noticed a strange stench from a massive paper mache sculpture of a stegosaurus. They called the police who, with the help of firefighters, discovered a body in the dinosaur’s leg. Authorities believe the victim dropped his phone into the structure and got stuck trying to fish it out.
The hollow leg of a paper mache stegosaurus may be the strangest place a corpse has ever been found, but it’s not the only bizarre place in the annals of crime and adversity. From Murphy beds to haunted Disneyland rides, here are eight other weird places where people have come across dead bodies.
1. Near the CSI set: New York
In September 2006, a mummified body was found on the fifth floor of a Los Angeles building where CSI: New York was filming a season three episode (although it was filmed on the seventh floor). The plot did not involve a mummified body, but there was one in an earlier episode that has not yet aired. While some people suspected the gruesome discovery was a publicity stunt – nicknamed “Corpsegate” – at least two people who claimed to be building residents told Gawker Media’s Defamer that they believed the story was true, citing pungent smells in the fifth floor. Apparently the man had not paid the rent, and his body was found when an employee of the building opened the investigation.
2. In a Murphy bed
When British six-year-old sisters Mildred Bowman and Alice Wardle did not return from their vacation in Benidorm, Spain in 2005, a friend alerted the authorities. Resort workers discovered that both bodies were trapped between their Murphy bed and its frame, which had detached from the wall and fallen onto the bed, suffocating residents.
3. At the Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris’ Phantom Manor, filled with fake cobwebs and bellicose ghosts, turned seriously macabre in 2016 when employees discovered the body of their colleague, a 45-year-old technician believed to have been electrocuted while fixing a broken light . It wasn’t the only recent fatality at Disneyland Paris – another employee had died five years earlier after getting stuck under a boat on the It’s a Small World trip. It had suddenly started working while he was tinkering with it.
4. Behind a cooler for grocery stores
When workers removed some cool boxes from the wall of a disused no frills supermarket in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 2019, they found the body of Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada. The 25-year-old, who worked in the supermarket, had been missing almost 10 years earlier. It was believed that he had climbed onto the coolers – a hidden storage room frequented by workers on unauthorized breaks – and fell into the 18-inch space between the coolers and the wall. Murillo-Moncada was not scheduled for a shift at this point, so the other employees may not have known he was even entering the store; and authorities believed that the loud roar of the coolers blocked all calls for help.
5. In a rabbit hole
In January 2015, a person was on a walk at Squirrel Wood Scout Campsite in Doncaster, UK and came across legs and a torso sticking out of a rabbit hole. They belonged to Stephen Whinfrey, 50, a lifelong rabbit hunter who choked to death the day before after getting stuck in the hole. His dog, tied to a tree near the hole, was still alive.
6. In a cryotherapy chamber
It is believed that 24-year-old employee Chelsea Ake-Salvacion chose the cryotherapy chamber after closing the Rejuvenice Spa in Las Vegas in October 2015. When her body was found the next day, it was frozen – but the coroner later ruled that the cause of her death had in fact been “suffocation from an oxygen-deprived environment.” The nitrogen pumped into the cryotherapy chambers to keep them well below freezing also lowers the oxygen levels, which can make you unconscious and ultimately dead. Neither Rejuvenice site had any workers’ compensation records, and the one Ake-Salvacion was working on wasn’t actually licensed to provide cosmetic services, so authorities forced both of them to close.
7. In an aquarium
In the early summer of 2018, Devon Egg called his brother Brian and got his answering machine – the message said Brian was on vacation. Not only did Brian never use his answering machine, Devon believed the voice in the message was someone else’s. Neighbors reported Brian missing in late July, and police visited his San Francisco home three times but left when no one answered their knock. Other people came and went out of the house, and a clean-up truck showed up in mid-August. Neighbors called the police again, who eventually discovered a room with the door hidden behind a picture. In the room was an aquarium where Brian’s body was found, with no head or hands. Although two suspects who were living in the house at the time were arrested, they were later released pending further investigation.
8. In a hospital blanket
In May 2019, Sandile Sibiya went missing when she was held with a fractured thigh at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in South Africa. An internal search revealed nothing, so the staff reported his disappearance to the police. But soon “an unbearable stench built up in the hospital,” said a health officer. “Eventually it led into the storage room, where liquid dripping from the ceiling was a telltale sign that something was wrong.” Sibiya’s body was found in the ceiling, but how it got there is still a mystery.