A couple checks into a hotel and have to put up with a foul odor in their room all night. They call the staff to complain and somebody figures out the stench is coming from the bed.
Now, there’s no way that scenario is going to have a good ending. You’re almost hoping at that point that it’ll turn out the last guest just got drunk and pooped behind the headboard. But, no, the staffs take off the mattress and discover the couple has been sleeping over the rotting body of a dead girl who had been stuffed in the box spring.
The Real Stories:
This actually happened, in Las Vegas. Also, Kansas City, MO and Atlantic City, NJ and several times in Florida and California and, well, let’s just say that in or under the bed in a hotel room seems to be a fairly popular destination for the recently deceased.
It makes sense if you think about it. The closet and under the bed are the two most popular places to hide just about anything, so it’s not surprising a hell of a lot of corpses end up there as well. In fact, the odds are pretty good that at least once a guy has killed a prostitute, tried to stuff her under the bed, only to find there was already a body there.
The strangest part isn’t that the bodies wind up in such a terrible hiding place (killers often aren’t the type to plan ahead). No, the strange thing is that in almost every story people will sleep part of, or in many cases, the entire night, on top of the corpse before reporting it.
Most people we know will complain if they detect that someone might have smoked a cigarette in their room four months ago. Not these people, they slept inches above an oozing heap of rotting human flesh rather than inconvenience the hotel management by asking for a new room.
The closest encounter between fact and legend I’ve been able to document took place in Atlantic City (another gambling mecca, naturally) in 1999. This account comes from the Bergen Record:
The body of Saul Hernandez, 64, of Manhattan was found in Room 112 of the Burgundy Motor Inn after two German tourists slept overnight in the bed despite a rancid smell that prompted them to complain to the front desk.
The couple told motel officials about the smell Wednesday night but stayed in the $36-a-night room anyway. On Thursday, they complained again and were given a new room while a motel housekeeper cleaned Room 112.
The same thing happened to vacationers in Pasadena, California in 1996, as recounted in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin:
Lynn Nakamura of Honolulu walked into a Pasadena, Calif., motel room with her brother and joked, "You better check under the beds for dead bodies because I’ll freak if I find one."
That was before she and her brother, Dennis Wakabayashi of Los Angeles, noticed the foul odor that permeated the Travelodge Pasadena room July 24.
Not wanting to ask for another room because they had just been moved from another one, the two unknowingly spent the night in a room with a dead woman.
In July 2003, a cleaning crew discovered a dead body stuffed under the mattress in a room at the Capri Motel in Kansas City, Missouri. This report was filed by KMBC-TV News:
Police said that the man appeared to have been dead for some time, but the body went unnoticed until a guest staying the room could no longer tolerate the smell.
Officers were called to the Capri Motel in the 1400 block of Independence Avenue around noon Sunday after cleaning crews made the grisly discovery.
KMBC’s Emily Aylward reported that the man who checked into the motel room a few days ago complained to management about the odor two times over the three days. He then checked out on Sunday because he could not tolerate the smell.