Coto de Caza is a planned, fully guarded and gated community of about 4,000 homes and 14,000 residents. The community is considered one of the priciest master-planned communities in Orange County. Perhaps the communities most significant claim to fame is the fact that is the setting for the Bravo television network’s popular program The Real Housewives of Orange County.

Murder-Suicide Stuns Coto de Caza

Life is generally placid, peaceful, and even a bit glamorous, in Coto de Caza. The normal pace of life in the lovely community went awry in the aftermath of a horrific murder-suicide that has left its mark on the residents of the community.

Early one morning, the next-door neighbor of Katherine Dalton Philips went to Phillips’ home to check on her. The neighbor had not seen Philips out and about for a few days and had grown concerned. Being close to Philips, the neighbor had a key to the Philips home.

The neighbor let herself into the Phillips’ home at 6:30 a.m. The neighbor found Phillips dead in her upstairs bedroom. A man the neighbor did not know was deceased in the living room on the main floor of the home.

Investigators were dispatched to the scene. They concluded that Phillips died from a gunshot wound. She had been dead for about four days. The male in the living also died from a gunshot wound. Unlike Phillips, the man was determined to have died two days before his body was discovered.

There was no sign of forced entry into the residence. The man was thought to be the significant other of Phillips, or at least he had been. His gunshot wound was self-inflicted. The man remained in the residence about two days after killing Philips before he took his own life. 

A neighbor on the palm tree-lined street summed up the whole affair. “I’m in shock.  It’s awful. It’s Coto de Caza and you don’t expect something like this to happen here.”

The Aftermath of a Coto de Caza Violent Crime and Suicide

When a person is killed, or when an individual takes his or her life, with a firearm, the resulting scene can prove to be horrific. The biohazard cleanup associated with the scene can be highly challenging.

In the case of the Coto de Caza murder-suicide, the cleanup was complicated further by the fact that the woman’s body was left unattended for about four days, the man’s for two. The reality is that the human decomposition process, as unpleasant as it is to discuss, commences the moment an individual dies.

The human body is filled with bacteria that serves a vital purpose while a person is living. Upon a person’s death, blood flow ceases and these bacteria lose their nutritional supply. They almost immediately begin to “feed” on the deceased person’s body. Within about two days, these bacteria completely consume organs like the pancreas and the intestines, resulting in these bacteria being released throughout the body. It is at this juncture that discoloration of the deceased really starts to occur and foul odors begin to release from the remains. This is also the point in time when dangerous biohazards become a serious consideration, even if the deceased was not afflicted with any bloodborne pathogen.

Who Is Responsible for Biohazard Cleanup In Coto de Caza?

A common misconception surrounding a murder or suicide, let alone both types or violent events happening in the same home, centers on who is responsible for the associated biohazard cleanup. The remains of the man and woman in Coto de Caza presented a very real health risk to anyone who potentially came into contact with these bodies. This underscores a reality associated with violent and unattended deaths. Law enforcement and the coroner will come to the scene. These officials will conduct a thorough investigation at the scene.

The coroner will remove the bodies. However, neither of these agencies bears responsibility for the accompanying biohazard cleanup. Even in the well-healed environs of Coto de Caza, that is the case. The responsibility for biohazard cleanup in Coto de Caza falls on the shoulders of members of the general public, in this case, the family of the murdered homeowner.

The trauma of losing a loved one in a murder-suicide can fairly be said to be unimaginable. The traumatic aftereffects of losing a family member in this manner need not be further compounded by surviving relatives taking on the task of biohazard cleanup on their own. In addition to such an endeavor being an emotionally devastating experience, it also exposes family members to potential exposure to dangerous biohazards, pathogens that can cause serious diseases. As a consequence, seeking the assistance of a biohazard cleanup in Coto de Caza professional absolutely is the recommended course of action in the aftermath of a suicide or violent death.

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