Corpse left in water while kids played

Police are looking into the handling of the situation in Zlín region

Police covered the body of drowned man in blue tarp and left it floating in a public swimming area while children and families played in the water. The incident took place in the Štěrkoviště water recreational area in the town of Otrokovice in the Zlín region of southern Moravia.

The incident was first reported on the Czech Police website and picked up by multiple Czech media outlets June 15.

Police said that at 10:30 a.m. on June 13 water park visitors called the police emergency number to report the dead man one meter from the shore. “Police divers shortly after noon fished out the dead man, who was dressed only in a swimsuit,” police spokeswoman Monika Kozumplíková said in a web statement.

Children play near the corpse of a homeless man in a Štěrkoviště water recreational area. Photo: TV Prima

Swimmers were not kept out of the water during the time the covered body remained floating with its arm pointed upward, stiffened by rigor mortis.

“A police dog handler with a trained dog searched on shore for his clothes and personal belongings. Criminologists examined the body of a man,” Kozumplíková said.

Tabloid Blesk reported the corpse was on the shore next to the outdoor swimming area in warm weather for two hours waiting for a forensic examiner and two more hours waiting for a hearse to remove it.

Police say the corpse is that of a homeless Slovak man who has long been in the Zlín area. He and other homeless people went to swim at the water park the night before the body was found.

Corpse of a homeless man in a Štěrkoviště water recreational area. Photo: TV Prima

“When the others saw that their after swimming buddy did not return to the shore, they did not inquire further. Instead they took his clothes and belongings and went back to Zlín without him,” Kozumplíková said.

Police are checking to see why the other homeless people did not report the missing friend and whether the law was violated.

A report on TV Prima showed a man who questioned the handling of the incident. “The police response surprised me a little. The hand that jutted out of the water, it was drastic. In the immediate vicinity small children were running about. I would expect police to create a perimeter around the corpse,” the man said.

Blesk quoted a retired detective who said the response was not normal. “The normal procedure in such a case is the immediate closure of the entire space and quick removal of the body from the water. It is completely unthinkable that the body was left in the middle of bathers and especially children,” the former detective said.

The police say they are conducting an internal investigation into the handling of the matter, according to web server iDnes.cz.

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