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Norligh
03-28-2009, 01:07 AM
Hi,

At the university where I work we have a huge ice cooler. It consistently makes new ice, and it's been here for years. One day I realized it is large enough to hold a dead body. A body could easily be at the bottom, covered in ice, and no one would know (until it was cleaned out of course.) People could continue to get ice from the cooler, and because it continues to fill from the top and never gets empty, the body could stay hidden for...

There is my question? How long do you think is feasible for a body to stay in a cooler like that with no one knowing? I guess the question is more like- how long in between cleanings? I'd ask here but I'm afraidthey'd think I'm a nutcase (or figure out I am a nutcase.)

In my book I'm thinking I need the body hidden there for at least three years. Would this work or not in your opinion?

Thanks!

geardrops
03-28-2009, 01:10 AM
I guess the question is more like- how long in between cleanings? I'd ask here but I'm afraidthey'd think I'm a nutcase (or figure out I am a nutcase.)

"Hey, how often do you guys clean out the ice box?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Well I figure the ice at the bottom is probably pretty old, and there might be a sanitary issue there. Just curious."

Quossum
03-28-2009, 01:31 AM
I saw this used on a recent CSI. The body was only in the ice maker for a matter of hours, though, IIRC.

I agree that it shouldn't be such a suspicious thing to ask someone at the university.

--Q

Kitty Pryde
03-28-2009, 01:35 AM
That's way gross! But, I used to work in the bio dept at a university, and take bio lab courses at another university. i gotta say that they would catch on when somebody needed a whole bunch of ice for a project or a class needed a lot for an assignment, went to scoop it out, and hit Dead Guy.

herdon
03-28-2009, 02:02 AM
I think Psycho II might have done that.

I don't think it'd be secret for three years though.

dethnyte
03-28-2009, 02:10 AM
LOL! I'M glad I'm not the only one who ever thinks things like this! I don't even write horror, but one time, I randomly looked at a friend's car and thought, "Wow, that trunk you've got is big enough to hold a dead body..."

It reminds me of what Steven King said one time about his writing. Someone asked him how he came up with his morbid ideas and he said something like, "Well, secretly, I've really got this little kid locked up inside. But no one knows he's still in my desk drawer."

:roll:

maestrowork
03-28-2009, 02:35 AM
I have a feeling they probably clear it out once every few weeks.

But, yeah, ask them. :) Videotape the Q&A and post it on YouTube.

blacbird
03-28-2009, 02:46 AM
You could always do a lab experiment.

caw

Inarticulate Babbler
03-28-2009, 02:59 AM
Usually, the machine is owned by an ice company, and they do all the upkeep. Any questions like "How long before you change the ice?" or "Does ice go bad?" should be asked of them. It should be no big deal to get those answers. You don't have to tell them about the "body in the ice" theory to get those answers. You may want to look up the rate of decay on a froszen human body (there are places that do such testing) and apply the answers to the "Change the Ice" question to the "rate of decay" question.

If you're in college, they may offer forensic classes. The professors should be glad to help if it's for accuracy in the story (and you credit them in the bibliography).

maestrowork
03-28-2009, 03:28 AM
Suddenly I have a craving for frozen chicken breasts.

dethnyte
03-28-2009, 03:41 AM
Suddenly I have an craving for frozen chicken breasts.

Verily, methinks thou art a horror writer, forsooth.

Gillhoughly
03-28-2009, 04:36 AM
Call up your local coroner's office. Tell them you're a writer researching for a murder mystery and ask if someone's available to help you out.

If they're too busy--I once called right after a multi-car pileup--try again in a week.

I don't think a body would go undetected and unsmelled for that long. The ice is constantly melting and draining out somewhere. Some decomposition is inevitable, and the smell would be pretty strong around the drain. It's not as though it's been frozen solid.

Also, ice makers can and do break down, so someone calls maintenance eventually.

That said, you can probably set up a situation were there's an old freezer in one of the departments, just drop in the body, plug the freezer in, padlock the door, and leave. You can tape on a "property of the dean's office, do not move" sign and chances are good no one will bother with it for ages.

The theater department where I went to school had a huge props storage in the basement, including old fridges and other items. Until and unless one was needed, they stayed put for years, undisturbed.

I recall a lab where one of its fridges had a warning sign "Do not open, live venomous reptiles." Which was entirely true. They stored poisonous snakes in a state of torpor in the thing.

No one, I mean NO ONE, ever stored their Cokes there!

Aschenbach
03-28-2009, 05:06 AM
An ice maker wouldn't be cold enough to preserve a whole corpse.

Some surface parts might freeze if in contact with ice, but lower parts would inevitably decompose and eventually liquiefy. But then some of that liquised flesh might float up and get incorporated into an ice cube.

Kind of like when people freeze berries in ice cubes to make their cocktails cuter.

2Wheels
03-28-2009, 06:11 AM
Reminds me a bit of a time at University when I had to go in on a Saturday morning to finish an experiment which had to run overnight. It was in the Medical Sciences building, I was the only one around, and I wacked my head hard enough on an air duct, while in the big walk-in refridgerator to see stars. Thought afterwards that if I had actually knocked myself out I could have been long since dead from hyperthermia by the time I was found on Monday morning ...

ORION
03-28-2009, 06:39 AM
And then there was the guy here in Honolulu who walked into a surf shop and asked to see the surfboard bags and stepped inside them one at a time and asked if they would be big enough to hold a body and... funnily enough the guy's wife was found inside one dead -- dumped in Pearl Harbor--- and he had charged the bag on his visa...true story...

Rushie
03-28-2009, 07:31 AM
Maybe call the county inspector, whoever does the sanitation grade. There may be some law about how often ice makers need to be cleaned out.

katiemac
03-28-2009, 07:54 AM
An ice maker wouldn't be cold enough to preserve a whole corpse.

Some surface parts might freeze if in contact with ice, but lower parts would inevitably decompose and eventually liquiefy. But then some of that liquised flesh might float up and get incorporated into an ice cube.

Kind of like when people freeze berries in ice cubes to make their cocktails cuter.

My goodness, I'm never going to have anything but clear ice cubes for the rest of my life.

BAY
03-28-2009, 08:12 AM
And then there was the guy here in Honolulu who walked into a surf shop and asked to see the surfboard bags and stepped inside them one at a time and asked if they would be big enough to hold a body and... funnily enough the guy's wife was found inside one dead -- dumped in Pearl Harbor--- and he had charged the bag on his visa...true story...
__________________

He probably thought no one would remember him.

Norligh-If a body does show up in one later guess who the police will interview first?

Mac H.
03-28-2009, 09:38 AM
Some places to hide a dead body seem to be too far-fetched to be true.

eg: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/gruesome/mccurdy.asp

Why can real life be weirder than reality ?

Mac

GeorgeK
03-28-2009, 03:41 PM
Since the ice machine is for food grade consumption in more than a single family residential dwelling, there are almost certainly local health code regulations regarding how often they are supposed to be cleaned. Of course whether that actually takes place is another question.

RJK
03-28-2009, 07:28 PM
Those ice makers, no mater the size are all made the same, the door opens in the front, not the top. you scoop ice from the front and the ice falls forward as you remove the older cubes from the front. Ther isn't much space between the bottom of the door and the bottom of the ice bin, less than a foot on the large icemakers. They have to be designed this way, otherwise you'd end up with a solid block of ice at the bottom.
The icemakers work most efficiently when they are full or close to full. So emptying them to clean them would be rare. The constant replenishment of new ice keeps them clean.

Short answer, your body would be found quickly.

KCathy
03-28-2009, 07:39 PM
I have nothing helpful to add, but have to say I LOVE the questions people ask at AW!

Norligh
03-28-2009, 09:21 PM
Oh this is great. I love it. How totally gross!


An ice maker wouldn't be cold enough to preserve a whole corpse.

Some surface parts might freeze if in contact with ice, but lower parts would inevitably decompose and eventually liquiefy. But then some of that liquised flesh might float up and get incorporated into an ice cube.

Kind of like when people freeze berries in ice cubes to make their cocktails cuter.

Norligh
03-28-2009, 09:26 PM
Thanks for all the responses. Maybe my idea won't work. This ice cooler/maker is deep and it opens from the front, but the top (so the lid opens upwards, not from the side.) I'm going to have to ask to see how often it is serviced or cleaned. LOL- I get ice from this every day so now I'm going to be wondering how clean it is! It is not used my the entire university though. Actually just a small portion, and not academics. I think it's odd that they even have it because they pinch pennies wherever they can yet they have this huge ice cooler.

Maybe the freezer with the "do not open" sign would work better!

Thanks again,

Jennifer


Those ice makers, no mater the size are all made the same, the door opens in the front, not the top. you scoop ice from the front and the ice falls forward as you remove the older cubes from the front. Ther isn't much space between the bottom of the door and the bottom of the ice bin, less than a foot on the large icemakers. They have to be designed this way, otherwise you'd end up with a solid block of ice at the bottom.
The icemakers work most efficiently when they are full or close to full. So emptying them to clean them would be rare. The constant replenishment of new ice keeps them clean.

Short answer, your body would be found quickly.

frimble3
03-29-2009, 05:49 AM
If there were a couple of road-killed or rubber snakes neatly wrapped up near the top for the idly curious, I'll bet no-one would ever look any further.

KikiteNeko
03-29-2009, 10:31 PM
It might work until there's a power out.

But I would think someone cleans the ice from the bottom, because it would get kinda funky, wouldn't it?

Tsu Dho Nimh
03-30-2009, 10:51 AM
In my book I'm thinking I need the body hidden there for at least three years. Would this work or not in your opinion?
Thanks!

No ... food handling regs require that they be emptied and scrubbed down far more often than that. They start growing all kinds of things in a few months, and stink.

jodiodi
03-30-2009, 11:03 AM
I was the Infection Control practitioner at a hospital and our Ice machines had to have regular cleaning schedules, no less than monthly, most weekly. It depended on what the ice was used for. If it was for patient/human consumption, the schedule was a lot more often than the ice used to pack lab specimens in their containers or to fill ice packs. As long as you're not setting your tale in a healthcare facility, I'd go with at least a month.