YWCA Woman Dead Two Months Before Anyone Notices

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It took the YWCA two months to find Irina Valdez's body.
Anyone who makes it their mission to help the less fortunate deserves a big pass in my book. Still, it's hard not to wonder what went wrong in the case of India Valdez, a downtown YWCA resident who wasn't found until seven weeks after her death.

As KOMO reports, Valdez was no shrinking violet. Her nickname was "Big Mama," and all 120 of the Y's tenants claimed to know and love her.

So how could a beloved friend to all disappear for two months without anyone noticing? And more importantly, and more gruesomely, how does no one notice the smell of a long decomposed body?

The answer to the first question is that people did notice. And they were concerned.

After two weeks without seeing Big Mama, staff at the Y say they visited her room. They didn't see her. But only because they never checked the other side of her bed, where Valdez was lying dead on the ground.

The answer to the second question is a little less believable. As the Y says an open window masked the smell of Big Mama's rotting corpse.

Like I said, it's tough to criticize the Y and the people who work there. They've got to balance their tenants' privacy while trying to keep them safe. And it's not like we're talking about people who'll retire early and live out their lives on a secluded beach somewhere; this is anything but a glamorous gig.

Still, it's a long time to not notice someone. Especially someone nicknamed Big Mama.

And on a deeper, more elementally human, note, there's something kind of horrifying about leaving this Earth yet not being buried within it for two whole months. I suspect the women who worked for and grew to love Big Mama feel that horror more than anyone.

 
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