Two curious discoveries were made last Thursday morning: 1) Ms. Goka had not come into school, and failed to call apologizing for leaving her stars leaderless, and 2) a potent smell was wafting from a corner in the front office and making its way into the vents. After five days the smell worsened, and spread to the area surrounding the office, which forced the office staff and administration to relocate to the main entryway. Goka’s mysterious absence continued just as the smell worsened.
“We thought Ms. Goka might have died in the ceiling,” Academic Dean Ryan Waugh said. “We thought [the smell] was her body decomposing.”
Goka conveniently returned the day the source of the smell was located. She claimed if it had been her body found decomposing in the ceiling, Waugh or High School Vice Principal Anah Wiersema would have been responsible for her death.
Speculation over the source of the smell was not only due to the corresponding absence of Goka but also because of AISD Pest Management (DPM). A district pest management employe, with 22 years of experience in pest management, arrived on the possible crime scene Thursday Feb. 9. After intense sniffing, the employee insisted that the smell was from a sewer pipe and not a dead animal.
“He used his whole experience card on me about dead pests, and he said it was sewer. I said, ‘it’s not sewer’, so there goes the ongoing saga from that point forward.” Waugh said. “But nevertheless we persisted.” Wiersma said
Friday Feb. 10 DPM returned and searched the ceiling with no success. At this point DPM concluded that the smell was either a dead animal in the walls, which nothing could be done about, or it was the prevailing sewer possibility. On Monday Feb. 13 district officials received a strongly worded email from Wiersema about the intolerable working conditions of the office staff.
“For the office staff it’s really terrible to leave the office, because then they don’t have access to the phones or computers,” Wiersma said.
Finally on Tuesday Feb. 14 DPM located the origin of the odor: it was located underneath the office in the form of a rotting raccoon. Office staff and administration were able to return to the main office after a few hours aring out and occasionally smelling a perfume cap belonging to Goka.