In less than 24 hours, two bodies were found in the waters of Central Park.
In less than 24 hours, two bodies were found in the waters of Central Park, including the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. (Pixabay)

In less than 24 hours, two decomposing male bodies were found in two separate bodies of water in New York City’s Central Park.

The first body was discovered by a park worker around noon on Tuesday in the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir near East 86th Street, The New York Times reported. The body was naked and badly decomposed to the point that investigators could not obtain fingerprints to identify him, but they estimated he was in his 20s or 30s. They believe he had been in the reservoir for at least a month.

The second body, which was clothed only in pants and did not appear to be in same state of decomposition as the prior body, broke through the surface of The Pond in the lower portion of the park around 7:20 a.m. Wednesday. Officials recovered an ID on the man estimated to be in his 30s, but they have not released his name as of yet. He may have been in the water for two weeks, they said.

Neither body had signs of trauma, officials said.


“There’s no signs of criminality as of now to make this anything other than coincidence,” Robert Boyce, chief of detectives for the NYPD, told the Times.

The first body was autopsied on Wednesday, but there has not been any conclusion made into the cause of his death. The second is expected to have further examination on Thursday. 

Why do dead bodies float?

While spring often brings warmer weather and blooming flowers to the city, it is not uncommon that bodies, which the NYPD calls “floaters,” rise to the surface in the waters surrounding New York.

But such instances are not usually seen in Central Park. The last floater found in the popular destination for tourists and New Yorkers alike was in September 2015, when a 27-year-old man drowned, the medical examiner said according to the Times.

While a body will initially float until water replaces the air in its lungs, bodies can rise to the surface due to weather, water temperature and science.

“When the water is below 39 degrees Fahrenheit, bacteria can’t metabolize in intestinal tracks,” Boyce, who is also a former chief medical examiner for the city, told PIX 11. “As the water gets up over 40 degrees, the bacteria starts making gases that cause the body to rise to the surface.”

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