December 05, 2009

Of Body-dumping, Euphemism, and the Forest Service

The always-alert reporter who covers this area for the Pueblo Chieftain was the first to report the discovery of a corpse not far from where I live.

M.  and I had been hiking and locating a geocache right at that spot just two days after the body was found—the crime-scene tape must have been removed by then—and we never knew about the body until we read the Pueblo newspaper the following day.

Note the language "stopped to go to the bathroom" and "the old Florence campground."

The first is a euphemism for pissing. The second requires local knowledge. The Florence Picnic Ground (not campground) was removed by the Forest Service decades ago—in the 1970s, I think. Supposedly this was done because of vandalism, budget issues, or some combination of the two.

But people still talk about it: "I saw some turkeys near the old Florence Picnic Ground," even though there is nothing there but a little meadow.

But by the time the story was picked up by other media, electronic and print, the body had been found by someone who stopped to use the restroom at the campground. There is no restroom (building), no campground. But those people never get out and around much, so they just repeat and misunderstand what they read elsewhere.

Finally, the county weekly got to the story, with much more detail: "Authorities Seek Identity of Headless Corpse."

Note the sheriff's comment:

Jobe said as crime escalates in larger surrounding counties, he feels Custer County, due to its numerous remote locations, will continue to be a dumping ground for murdered bodies.

And if it weren't for hunters and fishermen, who would find them?

When we lived near Colorado Springs (in Manitou), M. and I used to wonder why the El Paso County commissioners did not just create a "body-dumping area" on Rampart Range Road, a favorite spot for Colorado Springs lowlifes to deposit their former drug-dealing associates, unsatisfactory girlfriends, and such.

The county sign shop could have whipped up some appropriate signage: "Body Dumping Area 100 Feet," that sort of thing.

Of course, the feds would have to be involved for national forest land,  and they probably would want an environmental assessment.


otowi said...

I do hope they identify her and catch the killer. Someone is probably missing her, and if someone does that kind of crime, others are probably at risk.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Quite right, but first someone has to do the hard work of figuring out who this person might be.