The public slammed Walmart immediately after learning that a woman’s body had been hidden in a restroom for three days, with some even attributing the woman’s death to the big box retailer. And after searching the deceased woman’s vehicle, Police then disclosed what they discovered. Should the store still be held responsible after the discovery?
As many people blamed Walmart for the discovery of the body of Katherine Caraway, a 29-year-old mother of one from Muskogee, Oklahoma in a Walmart restroom just outside of Tulsa. The incident shocked the entire nation. Now, the public demanded explanations right away; as the body of the murdered woman had been confined in the private family restroom of the Sand Springs business for three days prior to her discovery, making the find even more horrifying.
As soon as Caraway walked into the store and went to the restroom where she died, it was soon revealed that employees discovered Caraway three days after Caraway walked into the store and went to the restroom where she died. As surveillance footage showed that on Friday at 6 pm o’clock, the woman can be seen entering the store’s private and lockable bathroom. The investigators then concluded that she spent the entire weekend inside. When the woman was not captured returning to the store the following Monday before her body was found at 3 pm.
But shortly after the body was found, Sand Springs Police Capt. Todd Enzbrenner said, “We’re searching through the video and talking to as many people as we can to find out her story, where she’s from.”
The staffs, however, were unaware of Caraway’s presence as she was inside alone at the time. Since no one had answered when they knocked, the restroom had been locked for a few days, after growing perplexed as to why it was locked. As Sand Springs Police investigated further and they discovered that personnel had marked the family restroom as “Out of Order.”
Criticizing the company for failing to clean the restroom for three days and failing to check to see if anyone needed assistance, the court of public opinion then immediately held Walmart accountable. As the preliminary investigation didn’t turn up anything suspicious about the woman’s death, only when the out-of-order sign remained on the door over the weekend. Until the maintenance employee unlocked the bathroom on Monday morning, only to discover the dead woman’s body on the floor.
“It was before they put up the out-of-order sign. She was in there for that long and they just passed it by,” Kaycee Johnson recalled claiming that she was devastated since, as she discovered why the family bathroom was shut. She remembered attempting to use it on Sunday before Caraway was discovered. She added, “by them just knocking on the door and not getting a reply, why did they not go get a key and open it? They could have helped her if she needed it.”
It wasn’t necessarily surprising, Captain Enzbrenner claimed, believing that it was a big miscommunication, although the discovery was unusual. “It’s not really that shocking. You find bodies everywhere. We don’t suspect foul play, but we also don’t believe that it was natural causes,” he said.
The autopsy results showed that Caraway died of an abnormal heartbeat caused by difluoroethane poisoning, which makes perfect sense given what was discovered in her car. Months after her passing, Caraway’s death was then ruled accidental. Although the public voiced their disdain for Walmart, an autopsy was performed and police also searched Caraway’s car for clues.
The most serious side effect is Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome. Police believe she had been “huffing,” inhaling the chemicals from the cans to get high. Huffing deprives the body and brain of oxygen as the abuser fills their lungs with chemicals instead of air. As Difluoroethane is a chemical that is used in air dusters, such as those used to clean computer keyboards, and several empty cans were discovered in Caraway’s car.
The young mother’s death was heartbreaking, but it was all her own responsibility, and there wasn’t anything the Walmart workers could have done to prevent it. But in addition to the negative consequences of huffing, her death does bring up other significant issues. According to DrugRehab.com, even “First responders rarely save the lives of people whose heart has stopped because of inhalant use.” Since the user’s brain has been without oxygen for such a long time, by the time this happens, it is frequently already too late.
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