An unattended death refers to a situation where an individual is not discovered after passing away for a prolong amount of time. This time frame may range from mere hours to multiple months.

Unattended deaths are more common among elderly individuals, especially in cases where the individual lives alone. An unattended death may occur as a natural passing or, in some cases, as a suicide or homicide.

Unattended Death and the Decomposition Process

After death, the human body, which is made up of organic matter, begins to break down almost immediately. There are three different stages of decomposition and each one imposes serious physical health concerns, if the area is not remediated properly.

The Different Stages

The first stage of decomposition is called autolysis. This is where the cells in the human body self-destruct.  When the human body has a decreased amount of oxygen, it becomes stressed and signals the release of enzymes. Cellular membranes begin to rupture from the inside out and dramatically lowers ph levels to where the human body becomes acidic in nature.

After the body begins to break down, the second stage takes hold- bloat. Secondary organisms such as fungi and bacteria begin to digest dead tissue, which releases gases within the body that creates a ballooning effect.

The third stage of decomposition is active decay. This is when fats and muscles start to break down into a paste-like substance by microorganisms. Odors take over and can become extremely hazardous. Other organisms, such as fly larvae and other insects, help in the decomposition process. These organisms are oftentimes present during body discovery.


“It doesn’t take much to leave people at risk. To mitigate health concerns from any decomposition, the area must be properly remediated. Even hours after passing, bloodborne pathogens, such as hepatitis B, can be inflicted upon others that come in contact with the area”

The Cleanup

It’s no secret that an unattended death creates a hostile environment to human health, especially if discovered in a home. The release of bacteria and other toxins can cause significant property damage as well as causing health hazards to others.

And in the state of Florida, the decomposition process doesn’t take long. When the incident occurs in hot and humid conditions, a home’s livability can be affected in less than a day.

After a property has been released from law enforcement, it’s usually up to the family to figure out the cleanup situation. It’s an issue that no family should face alone, especially when biohazard remediation is both tedious and difficult.

But You’re Not Alone

Accident Cleaners and Restoration has been in the biohazard remediation service for more than 19 years in the state Florida. We serve families on a local level, so that when discovery does occur, you’re not alone. Finding a loved one in this scenario is never easy—and our promise to you is that we’ll be there from start to finish.

We pledge to treat your family as our own- beyond service, above compassion, 24 hours a day.