The Curious Drowning Of David Bird

Mar 24, 2015 - 0 Comments

Add the name David Bird to a growing list of males who decide to step out the door one day in the middle of winter and end up dead in the water. 

Only difference in Bird’s case, however, apart from being in his 50s and a famous Wall Street Journal reporter, is that his waterlogged corpse wasn’t found until a full 14 months after he supposedly drowned.

So what’s so remarkable about that, some may ask. Well, for starters, bodies completely disintegrate if they’re in water for a long time. And an essential part of that natural process is called de-gloving which, as the word implies, means their skin literally peels off.

After that -- and certainly by 14 months -- they’re basically reduced to a pile of bones, which, in the Bird scenario would have long ago been scattered in every direction by any number of rapid-flowing river currents.

An inconceivable drowning; an incomparable refloat.

Even more curious still, is why Bird’s body didn’t just materialize at the surface again within the normal refloat period for drown victims.

Refloat varies, of course, depending on air and water temperatures, but surely by March or April of the year he actually disappeared in his putrefied body would have begun drifting upward again, even if somehow anchored to the river’s bottom.

But 14  months later? No. That would be exceptionally unusual.

Missing: David Bird

Fourteen months later, two men in a canoe, in freezing cold weather, at dusk, find a red jacket in the raging Passaic River, and instantly realize it’s got to be David Bird’s.

Ummm … not to snow on the lucky paddlers' parade or anything, but state and federal officials insisted then, as they do now, that "the river was searched thoroughly."

In fact, the following law enforcement agencies, fire departments, water rescue teams, and volunteer squads searched endlessly and everywhere for missing man David Bird, after he mysteriously vanished:

The Long Hill Township Police Department, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, the Morris County Department of Law and Public Safety-Office of Emergency Management, the New Jersey State Police, the Morris County Park Police, the Harding Township Police Department, the Bernards Township Police Department, the Warren Township Police Department, the New Jersey State Park Police, the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the Millington Fire Department, the Stirling Fire Department, the Warren Fire Department, the Liberty Corner Fire Department, the New Vernon Fire Department, the Chatham Township Fire Department, the New Providence Fire Department, the Berkeley Heights Fire Department, the Somerset County Department of Public Safety, the Parsippany Search Rescue and Recovery, the Whippany Swift Water divers, the Boonton Dive Team, the Pequannock Dive Team, the Jefferson Dive Team, the Picatinny Dive Team, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, the United States Veterans Administration Police and Fire of Lyons NJ, the Long Hill First Aid Squad, Long Hill Township Office of Emergency Management, the Salvation Army, the Long Hill Community Emergency Response Team Volunteers, and the Warren Township Community Emergency Response Team.

And yet none of these professionals could find him, but two guys in a boat -- more than a year later -- could?

David Bird’s cause and manner of death undisclosed.

The medical examiner’s office has done its work and the public waits with bated breath to learn all there is to know of the curious drowning of David Bird in January 2014 and the even odder recovery of his corpse in March 2015.

Such a formal announcement typically doesn’t take too long for a coroner to deliver, but, instead, "there is no time frame" now as to when that stranger-than-fiction account will be publicly released, if ever.

Indeed, even inquiries by the press concerning how the uncanny canoeing couple happened to stumble upon their grisly treasure is apparently top secret too. Because “the canoers information on what they were doing could [also] not be released.”



Eponymous Rox is the author of The Case of the Drowning Men and Dungeons, Dragons, Murder.

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