If you died in your sleep, how long before anybody knows? (single folks, I suppose)

Obviously, if you’re married it wouldn’t take that long.

I give myself 2 days. The first day, the people at work or a friend or two would call but not be alarmed. The second day, either work or a friend would be suspicious and come visiting.

I’ve actually had this conversation with a friend at work. Basically, if I haven’t come in or called in by about 10:00am, she can get worried, and call me. I suppose if I didn’t answer and didn’t show up, she would (probably before the end of the day) at least come by to check up on me, and then maybe call the cops.

However, on a weekend, I could lie there until Monday.

Not a happy thought.

My next-door neighbor has a key. I’ve told her that if she ever sees/hears no signs of life over here and my car’s parked on the street, to feel free to check it out. but, yeah, on a weekday, someone would check – on a weekend, maybe not.

Actually, a few years ago the neighbor on the other side, a single woman, died in her sleep. A couple of coworkers came by, since she was supposed to be presenting at some seminar or something, and they ended up calling the cops – who weren’t sure if there was foul play involved or not, since she never cleaned up her house. It turns out that the fact that there was a large knife sitting on her staircase had no sinister significance.

This happened to my dad – he died over a weekend. (I think it was a Sunday night, but I honestly don’t remember. My memories of that time are a bit fuzzy, for obvious reasons.) Monday morning, when he didn’t show up for work and didn’t answer his phone, a coworker or two (I don’t know how many) went over to his place to find out what was going on. I guess at that point the cops were called, and he was found.

He was a very reliable guy, and the people he worked with knew something was wrong when he didn’t either show up or call.

Same as with the OP, two or three days. Nobody would be surprised if I missed a day at work - mildly surprised that I didn’t call in, which I do even with the lamest excuse - but the second or third day someone would get an investigation rolling.

Probably most of a day if it was a weekday, but if it happened on a Friday night, I’d probably ripen till late Monday.

OTOH, my mother calls from PA if I go two hours without responding to one of her E-mails, so maybe less.

Due to our different work schedules, my wife has often left the house before I’m out of bed, so she might not even notice until she came home from work. Of course, if she had to work overtime and came home at midnight as she often does, she might then assume that I’d come home early and already went to sleep. And if it happened during the winter, she wouldn’t think it was strange if my hands and feet were cold.

Hmmm… about how long would it take before I started to smell?

Heh, I’ve had this discusion with my roommate. We both pretty much stay in our respective rooms unless we happen to be having a couple of beers together. So yeah we talked about and concluded that if we didn’t hear or see the other at least russling around in the kithcen for a couple of days then we’d probably have to check the other out.

So theoritcaly it would be a couple of days. But knowing us it might be more.

Since I’m living at home, I’d be discovered the same day. When I was at college, I had my own room, and no friends. I figured it could EASILY be more than a week.

Hmm. My coworkers would probably call my family eventually if I didn’t call or show up to work for a few days. I’m not sure how many. Otherwise, my friends online would know that I’d disappeared but not know something was wrong. My parents live very near, but it would take some time of not answering my phone for them to think something was up.

The actor Guy Williams(Professor Robinson, Don Diego de la Vega) went undiscovered for several days after he died of a brain aneurysm. I remember reading about it when it made the headlines, and thought it sad.


I’d imagine that the folks at work would do something after 2 days. If I’m sick or just taking the day off, I have to call in. Big trouble if we don’t. After two days, they’d probably get worried.

Now I have to e-mail my boss!

You mean you’ve stopped? :smiley:

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist a good straight line.

It’d probably be at a couple of days for me. I have friends I see most nights who would notice me missing. They’d try to call me but they also know I rarely answer my cell or listen to my messages so they wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t answer. If I missed work, they might call my emergency contact person (my bro in FL) who knows some of my friends. If nobody could reach me, they’d probably assume I was being reclusive and wait a couple of days before calling the police.

A day or two.

This thread reminds me of a conversation i had with a friend. We were talking about this very subject and he suggested that if I died and wasn’t discovered within a day or two, my dog would probably eat me.

I said, “No, she wouldn’t eat me, she loves me too much. But she’d probably roll in me.” :smiley:


If I didn’t show up for work, it could be as little as a couple hours. I work as a caretaker and when my boss’ husband came home and didn’t find me here, he’d probably drive to my apartment two miles away and see if everything was okay.

On the weekend, it’d be two days since those’re my days off and I don’t have any friends other than them to check up on me.

Up to a week but I think 2 or 3 days is more likely. My neighbor accross the hall and I kind of keep an eye on each other as we both live alone. We’ve jokingly talked about this scenario before. Whenever this question comes up I always post a link to this Software Dead Man’s Swtich. I’ve never installed it though as it would be actually admitting that I might be left longer than I think.

I don’t know, but I wish it would goddam hurry up and happen, already!

Probably a couple of days, but I wouldn’t be suprised if it were a week.
I don’t have a phone so people can’t normally contact me any moment of any day, I usually have people e-mail me and I get back to them. If someone needs to talk to me I’m either at my place or one of two other friends place on the same block.
I see my friends daily because we all live in the same college neighborhood. At least through the summer we party pretty much every night, so that night people would begin to wonder why I didn’t show up. Probably within a couple days one of my friends would get tired of knocking on my door and would try and get into my place (no… they probably wouldn’t call the cops first). Waiting for people to get to the point where they’re wondering if I’m dead might take a few days, though.

Ooh, that’s an interesting question. And given my morbid imagination, I’m surprised I never wondered about this before.

I spend most of my week in evening isolation–once I get home from the office, I usually don’t go out or have company. I cherish my alone time, and I’m actually known amongst my friends for disappearing for two weeks or more at a time. (I will, however, answer my phone and say I’m feeling antisocial, please call back later, so nobody goes and calls the cops who will come and find me smoking a joint in my underwear, watching Tiny Toons).

If I were to die Sunday night, someone would notice I hadn’t called into work on Monday, but probably wouldn’t get too terribly worried. Maybe by Tuesday they’d call my house. A couple friends I usually email with while at work would probably think either my internet was down or I was just too busy or too sick to reply. Wednesday, the office might call my emergency contact number … and probably get no answer, because it’s my friend’s cellphone (my immediate family is all pretty far away) and she rarely answers it during office hours–and her voicemail can be delayed for days. (Why doesn’t she get a new phone, you ask? I DON’T KNOW. sigh) It’s not unusual for me to go two weeks without talking to my parents, so they’d be no help there. Probably by Wednesday night, someone would be concerned.

All in all, probably three to four days before anyone thinks of calling in the authorities. By Day Three, at least one of my friends would try to come by my apartment and see that my car was there and jump to horrible (albeit correct) conclusions.

And as much as they love me, I have no doubt that my cats would begin eating my flesh inside two days, were their bowl empty.