What to know about forensic cleanups

National News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On Tuesday, an El Paso woman woke up to blood dripping from her ceiling after an upstairs neighbor passed away and decomposed for multiple days. Bodily fluids from the body dripped into her apartment.

An El Paso disaster and forensic company said these types of situations are not uncommon and that the company gets called to do forensic clean-ups at apartments regularly. However, they say usually the body is found before something like what occurred to Ana Cardenas.

“In this particular situation that has occurred here, there are questions as to how does blood transfer from an upstairs unit to a downstairs unit and any time there’s a deceased situation, depending on how long the body has been there, the corpse, certain things happen with the body that will cause fluids to leak out,” said Carlo Quintana of Lariat Restoration.

He explained how bodily fluids, including blood, were able to seep through the floor into Cardenas’ apartment.

“Those fluids, just like water, if you have water in an upstairs that has flooded an upstairs apartment, it’s going to start to trickle down through the cavities of the rafters and the plywood and the subfloor and it will eventually make its way down to the first floor,” said Quintana.

As for the smell lingering in the apartment complex, Quintana said, on average, it should last between two to five days.

Cardenas is now without a bed, along with other personal items that had blood on them. Quintana said those items need to be disposed of, as there is a potential for diseases.

“The diseases are probably the biggest risk, the two most common are HIV and hepatitis,” said Quintana.

Cardenas told KTSM 9 News she was going to the doctor on Thursday for a medical exam and that she will let us know what the doctor has to say. She added that she was traumatized by the whole situation on Wednesday, but said that she’s feeling a little better on Thursday.

However, she did let us know that she does not have renters insurance, as it was not required.

El Paso insurance agent Miguel Reyes said it’s important to always have renters insurance, whether or not it’s required by your landlord.

“Renters insurance covers the person that is renting the property, personal belongings and you can also include any kind of medical,” said Reyes. “The landlord insurance might cover some stuff, but not necessarily that type of risk. In this type of situation, it is very important because if there’s any damages inside the rental property, she might be responsible for those damages, it might have to come out of her pocket.”

We reached out to Cielo Vista Apartments, where Cardenas lives and have not yet received a response.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Cardenas to help her replace her belongings.

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