The Cover Up
It was around 4:00 AM Sunday morning and Cora Sanchez, the night cleaner at the House of Hope has just completed her washing of the floors on the third floor of the building.. She pushed open the door that leads to the stairwell and is immediately struck by a the stench of urine and feces. This was not an unfamiliar smell to Cora as residents urinating or even defecating in inappropriate places was not unheard of in this facility. As she took a look around the curving stairwell she saw a pair of blue jean covered legs. The body that they belonged to was hidden by the curve in the stairwell between the third and fourth floors.
The House of Hope is a state of the art facility designed for the treatment of multiple mental and substance abuse disorders and the general conditions of abuse, homelessness and poverty. It was a recently built multi-complex facility that was funded by a large government grant.
Cora suspected that she would find a resident who had soiled himself before passing out in the stairwell. Although the facility’s policy was not to allow alcohol or illicit drugs in the residence, they could not prevent a client from obtaining their drug of choice from the street.
As the facility was located in an industrial warehouse district of town there were always drug dealers near the premises. Cora climbed down the flight of stairs until she was on the landing. She found a young man probably in his twenties passed out on the stairs. It was obvious that he had soiled himself. He was wearing a red hoodie with matching red sweat pants. His body appeared to be positioned in an unnatural position as if twisted the wrong way. Cora did not recognize the man. As the cleaner worked the overnight shift she didn’t get to know many of the residents of the treatment facility.
Cora asked the man in a loud voice if he was okay in a to see if he would respond. She waited about five seconds but did not hear any response from the man. Cora got down on her knees in order to give the gentleman a shake.
As she got close to his face she realized that the man was not breathing. There was a stream of saliva and red spittle coming from his mouth that had dried on his chin. Becoming alarmed Cora ran out of the stairwell to get help. As she opened the door to the stairs she saw a security guard doing his rounds. She called out that a man was down in the stairway. The security guard immediately called 911.