Decomposition timeline of Hard Rock Hotel workers

New Orleans buries its dead above ground, but why did the Hard Rock Hotel become the tomb for Jose Ponce Arreola and Quinnyon Wimberly?

Oct. 12, 2019: an 18-story hotel under construction collapses, killing three, injuring more than a dozen. One body was recovered. The other two bodies were not recovered due to the instability of the collapse site. As of now, the remains have yet to be claimed by recovery workers. Here is a timeline of the decomposition of the corpses.

Oct. 12, 2019: initial deaths caused by crushing trauma. Damage to the bodies would expedite decomposition.

Oct. 15, 2019: autolysis: internal organs ruptured by excess carbon dioxide. The bodies started to consume themselves by enzymes released. Rigor mortis set in, and the skin took on a greenish hue and started to loosen. The bodies produced gases such as methane and hydrogen sulfide.

Oct. 17, 2019: bloating occurred, possibly doubling the body size. In addition to skin discoloration, fluids leaked from nose, mouth, etc. At this point insects may have been present, laying eggs in open wounds of the corpses, turning into larva feeding on the decomposing flesh. In addition, rodent and scavengers would help to consume the flesh. Microorganisms and bacteria start the putrefaction process, leading to a foul odor.

Oct. 22, 2019:  active decay: all body tissues started to liquefy. Most of the body mass is being reduced at this point.

Nov. 12, 2019: within a month the corpses have been reduced to a puddle of liquid remains. Insect activity has decreased.

Present: the bodies of the workers are now mostly skeletal held together by clothing and the dried liquefied flesh.

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