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Have You Ever Found A Body?

Have You Ever Found A Body? : Discover Your Role

What does it means by dead body?

Body is referring to a dead person. Death can be due to a lot of factor. Death can be caused naturally such as because of diseases and age factor. A person can also die due to criminal act such being stabbed, or shot to death, or even pushed from a high ground/building.

Moreover, dead bodies can also be found after an event of natural disasters. Flood, tsunami, landslides, earthquakes and even volcanic eruptions can also be the manner of death. It is also possible that you find the remains of a long dead person or a historical mummy due to human activities such as agricultural, land development and excavation.

Can I consider body parts as corpse too?

When a person is dead, the deceased is called a dead body or corpse. If you ever found parts of human bodies such as a leg, one arm or ears, it is difficult to conclude that those body parts owned by a dead body. Unless, the body parts that you have found was a human head!

The body parts may not come from a dead body. As a matter of fact, there is no evidence to determine that the owner of the body parts is actually dead for any cause.

All the body parts you have found may have been removed due to medical and health purposes such as in the treatment of diabetes or gangrene. It also can happen during road traffic accident or crash, where the victim’s hand or leg was torn apart due to the incident, yet the person is still alive and being treated in the hospital.

Therefore, further investigation by the police is needed to identify the person who owns the body parts and to validate the information regarding the discovery.

What else to be encountered besides a complete corpse?

The type of body that may be encountered:

  • Charred body remains.
  • Decaying or decayed body or body parts.
  • Bloated corpse.
  • Human remains or skeletal remains.
  • Body parts such as arms, legs, head, fingers, ears and upper or lower limbs.

If I found someone lying on the ground, what should I do? How to make sure that the individual is still alive or not?

Before you take any action, please make sure that the surrounding area is secured. It might be a trap! If you could find anyone to accompany you, tell them the situation and ask them to help.

Once you are sure that the environment is safe, you can do the following:

First; with an observation, you can see whether the body is still twitching even with small movements.

  • You can look for his vital signs. If the laying body shows some movements due to respiratory process, or the body’s eyes still blinking, it could be an indication that the person may still alive.
  • Then, you can call 999, the Emergency Line and ask for ambulance or emergency medical aid to help the person. Your action could save a life.

Second; if you believe that the person did not move anymore and shows any vital signs:

  • You could contact the nearest police station or 999, the emergency line to ask for a police patrol.
  • Do not touch the body.

If you think that you are not safe to stay there much longer, leave the place and go to the nearest police station. You can launch a police report regarding the situation. Your action can assist the police to act more effectively.

I like to watch Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) drama series. They always highlight process of evident collection and how incredible they can be. My question is, if I found a body and my hair falls on the victim, could I be the suspect too? Is there any guideline to what I can do and cannot do in this situation?  

First, CSI is a thriller action drama with the application of forensic science highlighted. It may not imply the real situation in crime scene investigation in Malaysia. There are protocols to be followed and thorough investigation to be done before they can charge anyone with the crime.

When you found a body, don’t panic. You should calm down and think rational. Do not do things that you would regret.

The place where you found the body might be the crime scene. Everything on the deceased and around him could be the evidence. All the evidences belong to the investigative team (police). You do not want to temper with the evidence and turn the crime scene upside down. The last thing you need to face is to be interrogated by the police because of your act that is considered as to have interfered with the investigation or you might be the suspect or to assist in the police investigation.

Below are the do’s and don’ts at the crime scene or a location that you may have found a dead body.

Do not:

  • Touch the victim’s body or any item found around him and leave it as it is.
  • Bring home the body, even though the deceased was your love one.
  • Bring back the body parts that you found for whatever reason.
  • Steal the deceased belongings such as wallet, cell phone, watch, necklace and even shoes. They could be important evidence to provide clue for police investigation.
  • Cover the body with cloth, plastic or papers that you found at his surroundings and not even your own cloth. You might add more evidence that is not supposed to be there. Locard’s Exchange Theory explains how evidence can be transferred from a person to another.
  • Hovering near the body. You can wait the arrival of the police officer at a distance.
  • Smoking cigarettes and throw the smoked cigarettes in the area. Your cigarettes might be collected by the forensic investigation team together with other evidence. It is not impossible for you to be arrested after the laboratory produces the analysis result.
  • Throw out or spit out on or near the body. You will destroy the evidence and also add new evidence.
  • Run away from the crime scene without the intention to launch a police report about your discovery.

You can:

  • Take pictures of the body and the surrounding area without damaging and contaminating the evidence. The picture could be used as supporting evidence when you report the incidence at the police. Do not abuse the technology for personal amusement.
  • Leave the scene after informing the police about the incidence. Provide them with your personal information and contact number for their record.

Could ambulance carry the dead body from the scene to the hospital’s mortuary?

Ambulance is a special vehicle for taking ill or injured people to and from hospital. Ambulance services are provided for urgent and efficient handling of emergency and referred cases to hospital. It can only bring patients for medical aid and further treatments. It cannot take dead body from the scene of crime to the hospital mortuary. Police have to bring the body to mortuary for further investigation.

The public is strictly forbidden to bring a deceased into their personal vehicle, either to be sent to hospital or to police station. Hospital provides a special transport usually van, to send the deceased back home for the last service.

What is the emergency telephone number that can be used?

An Emergency Line 999 has been introduced on October 1, 2007 which incorporates all the government agencies involved in emergency response. You can call the number to get an immediate response from agencies such as the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP), Fire and Rescue Department Malaysia (JPBM), the Civil Defense Department (PSD) and the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH).

999, a line for an effective emergency service.


  1. Death: General information. (2013, September). Citizen Advice Bureau. (website). http://www.cab.org.nz/vat/fp/d/Pages/Generalinformation.aspx.
  2. Glennon, J. (2013, April). Investigations: 10 Things Not To Do. LAWOFFICER: Police & Law Enforcement. (website). http://www.lawofficer.com/article/investigation/investigations-10-things-not-d.
  3. Lofland, L. (2011, Mei). Homicide Investigation: Do’s and Don’ts. The Graveyard Shift. (website). http://www.leelofland.com/wordpress/homicide-investigations-dos-and-donts/.
  4. Mohd Yusoff Samad. (2013, April 13). Perkhidmatan Kecemasan 999. Jabatan Pertahanan Awam Malaysia. http://www.civildefence.gov.my/v3/index.php/perkhidmatan/perkhidmatan-kecemasan-999.
  5. Noresah Baharom. (2012). Kamus Dewan Edisi Keempat. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
  6. Steel, M. (2012). New Oxford English-English-Malay Dictionary. Shah Alam: Oxford Fajar Sdn. Bhd.


Last Reviewed : 23 August 2019
Writer : Khairul Adli bin Nikman
Accreditor : Dr. Ahmad Hafizam bin Hasmi
Reviewer : Dr. Khoo Lay See