Frozen in indifference: Life goes on around body found in vacant Detroit warehouse
Charlie LeDuff / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- This city has not always been a gentle place, but a series of events over the past few, frigid days causes one to wonder how cold the collective heart has grown.
It starts with a phone call made by a man who said his friend found a dead body in the elevator shaft of an abandoned building on the city's west side.
"He's encased in ice, except his legs, which are sticking out like Popsicle sticks," the caller phoned to tell this reporter.
"Why didn't your friend call the police?"
"He was trespassing and didn't want to get in trouble," the caller replied.
A colony of homeless men live in the warehouse. Wednesday morning a few fires were burning inside oil drums. Scott Ruben, 38, huddled under filthy blankets not 20 paces from the elevator shaft.
"Yeah, I seen him," Ruben said. The snow outside howled. The heat from the can warped the landscape of rotting buildings and razor wire.
Did he know who the dead person was?
"I don't recognize him from his shoes."
Did he call the police?
"No, I figured someone else did," he said.
"There's lots of people coming through here with cameras and cell phones. I don't got no phone. I don't got no quarter. Things is tight around here."
His shack mate, Kenneth Williams, 47, returned at that point with an armload of wood.
"Yeah, he's been down there since last month at least."
He was asked if he called the police.
"No, I thought it was a dummy myself," he said unconvincingly. Besides, Williams said, there were more pressing issues like keeping warm and finding something to eat.
"You got a couple bucks?" he asked.
Contacts with authorities
When reporter Charlie LeDuff got a call about a body lying frozen in an abandoned building, he told police officers, who referred him to 911.
About 5 p.m.: Reporter calls 911 and describes the body's whereabouts.
20 minutes later: Operator calls back asking for more specific directions.
4:43 p.m.: Reporter calls 911, waits and is disconnected.
4:46 p.m.: Calls again and explains that he called yesterday but body is still there.
4:55 p.m.: Fire Department calls back for specific directions and reporter offers to meet at the site.
5 p.m.: Fire Department arrives and the homicide department is called; recovery begins.
Just... wow. Lol. Please read the full article here.
oh, and pictures.