# How long does it take for a body to decompose in water?

neednollage | 12:30 Fri 19th Sep 2008 | How it Works
In fresh water, as a large lake. Would decomposition be faster than above water? What would the possible state of decomposition be after 10 days? Would the body be recognizable?

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I'm almost too scared to ask....but....why do ya wanna know?
depends on a lot of factors - heat, running water vs stagnant, fish stocks etc etc.

You're better off just shaving it, knocking out the teeth and feeding to pigs - I'm told it will take a dozen pigs about 40 mins, bones and all.

That is what you wanted to know...right?
gulp
<----- Forwards this thread to the CSI team.
Why have you posted this question in two categories?

Have you committed a double murder??????
Having helped retrieve said deceased persons from lakes and rivers, we find that, generally, in the warmer months (at least here in the western U.S.) that a person who drowned will sink as soon as the lungs are filled with water. They tend to sink nearly to the bottom, but, depending on clothing, fattines and other factors, they sometimes float sveral feet above the bottom. Decomposition begins almost immediately, but is dependent primarily on the water temperature. If the bodyof water is 50 degrees F or better, the body will float to the surface within about 5 to 8 days. the floating is caused by the decomposition gases trapped in various places in the body.
Although there is bloating and discoloration, very little loss of lesh actually occurs. If the body floats without being found for 2 or 3 days, sometimes the gas escapes from the body and it resinks. It may never refloat, but can as the decomposition continues.
As one poster mentioned, fish can play havoc with a dead body, but unless it's in theocean where larger fish can work on it, this takes a lot of time.
We've retrieved snowmachine riders who fell through the ice in the dead (no pun intended) of winter only if there was no current in the body of water and find them in the immediate vicinity. If they move away due to the current they are often not retrieved until spring when the water warms and decomposition begins in ernest (or Ernestine, as the case may be)...
Question Author
My fiance recently drowned and I am not very satisfied with the coroners answers, or lack of answers, actually. I feel like the matter needs to be looked at by someone with more expertise. however, I am not a doctor, nor do I have any experience in water fatalities. So, I just am looking for some answers...could the coroners statement that his body was too decomposed to tell if he had any injuries possibly be correct? Maybe I'm just looking for answers that aren't possible to get? Or, maybe (and I do feel like this is the likely scenario as this particular coroner is not at all experienced in water fatalities) this coroner just didn't have the correct equipment and/or experience to properly evaluate the situation?
Just looking for someone with more knowledge than I have to give me a better idea of wether or not it would be worthwhile to have the autopsy re-evaluated.