Follow TV Tropes


Constructive Body Disposal

Go To
"I was told there would be amontillado."

"You are among the weak who will become the foundation of our country. Literally."
Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong, Fullmetal Alchemist, to Lt. General Raven after cutting him down and knocking him into a newly-poured concrete floor.

When Disposing of a Body, you need a place where the body is unlikely to come to light again. One method is to find a site where a building or road is being constructed and bury the body in the foundations. Some murderers find a hiding place for their body where it will soon be covered up as construction progresses; others prefer to get hands-on and pour cement over the body personally.

This is particularly likely to be the case if the murderer in question either works in construction or owns the company, giving them special access to dispose of the body. It is likewise (at least in fiction) historically quite popular with The Mafia.

If finding a suitable spot and dealing with all that cement is too much hassle, then a simpler alternative is for the murderer to just hide the body under the floorboards, quite often either the ones at the site of the murder or their own. However, this particular method usually carries the danger that, as the body rots, the horrible smell will draw unwanted attention. As such, this is more often used as a temporary hiding place as opposed to outright disposal.

An alternative version that doesn't always involve murder is when the body in question was originally a worker on the project who died during construction and ended up being buried within it. Examples of this type usually fall into two categories: either it was a genuine accident (and at worst a case of negligence); or the corpse was deliberately hidden by their employers, either because they were just that apathetic to the death, or in an attempt to deliberately cover up the accident.

One danger of this method, if you get away with it, is that you may live long enough for renovations or rebuilding works to uncover the body.

For other cement-related methods of body disposal, see Cement Shoes, in which cement is used to weigh down a body that's dropped into a lake or sea.

Compare with Buried Alive, when sealing up the body is used as the method of murder rather than disposal (although there can be overlap between the two), and with Blood for Mortar, where the body parts are not concealed.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong, a Lady of War and Four-Star Badass in charge of Fort Briggs (home of the toughest troops in Amestris), plays along with Smug Snake Lt. General Raven from Central Command to find out about the Ancient Conspiracy that the Elric brothers are up against, having already seen some rather shady behavior from him. She learns that the Central leaders have been offered immortality in exchange for furthering Father's plans, and Raven offers her the opportunity to gain immortality as well. As she leads him down to a construction site, Raven rants about how the weak of Amestris will become the foundation for the strong. Having finally heard enough, Olivier stabs Raven in the hand, retorts that he is the weak one, having become a shell of his former self, and cuts him down before knocking him into the newly-poured cement floor. As Raven drowns, she comments that the weak will indeed become the foundation for the strong — in this case, Raven becoming the foundation for Briggs.
  • Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro: Early in the series, Neuro and Yako solve a case involving some yakuza guys and the budding detective couple inherit the office that belonged to them. In one room, Yako finds a braid of hair sticking from a walled-up corpse. It somehow gains sentience thanks to Neuro's demonic power. Akane seems to know what happened to her but refused to say anything about it and Neuro claims he's going to solve her mystery later as he's not interested at that moment. He never did.

    Comic Books 
  • In Elfquest, Lady Winnowill, posing as a human, has an interesting way of laying the floors for her lord's castle. Slaves dig a trench, after which they are knocked unconscious and cement is poured over them, filling the trench. After it hardens, repeat for the next section. The Djun is apparently fully aware and approves of this method of keeping secrets.
  • House Of Secrets: In this Vertigo comic, the Juris are a group of ghosts who all somehow became 'part of a house' in their death. The most recent member is a black woman named Ruby from 1960s Alabama who was murdered by whites who were appalled at her relationship with a white man. She was Buried Alive by being dumped in the foundation of a housing project and having concrete poured on top of her to form the slab.
  • Marvels: A doctor named Phineas Horton creates a synthetic being known as the Human Torch (later known as Jim Hammond). Horton shows off Hammond to the public, but the crowd says he is too dangerous. So, Horton drops the Human Torch, still in his vacuum-sealed glass tube, into the wet concrete at a nearby construction site.

    Films — Animation 
  • Monster House: During the construction of their house, Constance and Mr. Nebbercracker started being antagonized by a couple of boys on Halloween when they didn't have any candy to give (why the boys attempted to go trick-or-treating at a half-finished house is a completely separate matter). When Constance attempts to threaten them with an axe, she accidentally ends up losing her footing and falls into the dug-out basement, burying herself in cement at the same time.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Gate: Played with. In an attempt to scare him, Terry tells Glen that a workman died while building his house years before he and his family moved in and that he was still stuck in the walls. Later, when a zombie busts through the wall of their house, Glen whispers, "It's the workman" but Terry quickly informs him that he made it all up. The demons of the titular gate being able to take the form of human fears.
  • How to Murder Your Wife: Bash Brannigan (Jack Lemmon) carries out a "dry run" for disposing of his wife by dumping a shop-window mannequin, dressed in his wife's clothes, in a pile-hole on a construction site; when his (still living) wife finds out, she leaves him and disappears, leaving him to convince the court that he has not murdered her for real.
  • In the 1986 Italian movie Il camorrista the naked girlfriend of a gangster is tied up by her hands and lowered by a crane, fully conscious and screaming, into the wet concrete of a construction site.
  • Joe: The Busy Body (aka The Gazebo): At first it seems like a clever idea to Antoine Brisebard to build a garden pavilion to hide the corpse in the foundation. However as the corpse decomposes cracks begin to appear in the foundation.
  • In Lethal Weapon 3, the Big Bad kills a mook who had failed him while he was standing in front of a form that would be turned into a foundation of one of the houses the Big Bad was making in his civilian identity. Difference from the norm is, said mook is still alive when he's being buried. No gunshot, no stabbing, just whacked in the head, held down by shovels, and buried in cement.
  • Robin and the 7 Hoods: At the end of it is strongly implied that the crooked sheriff's body is in the foundation of a new building, just like his predecessor and their boss ended up.
  • Sexy Beast: At the beginning of the film, Gal's retirement is disrupted first by a loose boulder ruining his pool and then by his mobster ex-coworker Don Logan arriving to demand he does One Last Job. At the end, Don's body is hidden under the rebuilt pool.
  • Snake Eyes. The Big Bad kills a man and woman who are part of the conspiracy, and at the end of the movie, the woman's ring is shown embedded in one of the concrete pillars of the newly constructed sports arena.
  • Stir of Echoes: A father (Kevin Bacon) moves to a house in a Chicagoan suburb, and begins to be haunted by visions of a ghost girl. The girl was a mentally handicapped teenager who was almost raped by two neighbourhood male teens, one of them the son of the man who is leasing the house for Kevin Bacon's character, and is a house renovator. The man, his son, and the son's friend wrap the girl's body in plastic and immure it behind a wall in the basement.
  • Walled In: The film opens with a little girl named Julie being Buried Alive in cement through a combination of Human Sacrifice and Drowning Pit. It's later revealed that 15 other people suffered the same fate.

  • In Babylon Berlin by Volker Kutscher, Gereon Rath commits an Accidental Murder next to a construction site, so he drags the body inside, digs a hole in the still wet concrete foundation and buries it. Unfortunately the foreman notices the previously smooth surface has been disturbed and orders the workers to dig up the concrete and lay the foundation again, causing the body to be found.
  • In "The Cobblestones of Saratoga Street" by Avram Davidson, two elderly women campaign against a move to have a cobblestone street in their neighborhood resurfaced with modern materials. It turns out that the real reason they want the street left alone is that when they were much younger and the cobblestones were first being laid they used the construction to hide the body of a man who'd seduced them both.
  • In Aidan Chambers' short story "Dead Trouble", the protagonist died by falling into a load of cement that ended up being used for a motorway bridge.
  • In "Dolan's Cadillac" by Stephen King (from Nightmares & Dreamscapes), Robinson gets his revenge on Dolan by burying him alive (inside his car) underneath a highway that's being repaved.
  • Implied in "The Copper Beech" by Maeve Binchy. Leonora's life revolves around concealing the fact that her mother killed her Romani lover and her father buried him on the family property. After her parents' deaths, she finally confesses the situation to her schoolmate and eventual husband, "Foxy" Dunne. Foxy, who works in construction, responds, "A load of concrete will take care of that."
  • In "A Look at Organized Crime" by Woody Allen, New York racketeer Irish Larry Doyle "was killed when the Squillante Construction Company decided to erect their new offices on the bridge of his nose."
  • Lady Meng Jiang: A traditional Chinese tale about the construction of The Great Wall of China. Her husband Wan Xiliang was Press-Ganged into a crew on the wall, died, and was buried inside it. No Man of Woman Born is sometimes added to the tale — a cruel Emperor is told "ten thousand must die for the wall to stand" — and Wan can also mean ten thousand. The tale has the Emperor meet her, be taken by her beauty, and marry her — only to have her get revenge and denounce his cruelty for entombing her late husband in the wall.
  • Modesty Blaise: In the novel The Night of Morningstar, Willie Garvin has to defeat two killers sent by the villains, and wants to leave their employer guessing about what happened to them. He lures them to a construction site he knows about and buries the bodies in a patch of ground that's due to have concrete laid over it the following day.
  • Shadows of the Empire: A former mistress of Xizor who annoyed him by trying to reconcile with him was "accidentally mixed with a vat of duracrete" and is now part of a building foundation.
  • Edgar Allan Poe:
    • The Tell-Tale Heart: The narrator tells you nothing about themselves, not even their name or gender, except for the fact that they are not mad! The narrator lives with an old man. The narrator professes to love the old man but is fixated on the old man's "vulture-like evil eye", to the point that the narrator is driven crazy. The narrator kills the old man and buries him under the floorboard of the house. All seems to go well until the narrator has a Villainous Breakdown out of paranoia and guilt and reveals their crime to some visiting police officers.
    • The Black Cat: The narrator, becoming a violent alcoholic, kills his pet cat, Pluto. After some time, he brings home another, similar-looking, cat, and begins to hate it. When it nearly trips him as he goes into the cellar, he tries to kill it with an axe, and his wife gets the axe in her head when she tries to stop him. To keep anyone from finding out, he buries her body behind a brick wall. As in The Tell-Tale Heart, some police come to visit, and the narrator is at first sure he's home free. Then he knocks on the wall while rambling about how well-built the house is, and a wail from behind the wall causes the police to tear it down — he had accidentally entombed the cat while burying his wife's body.
    • The Cask of Amontillado (starting to see a pattern?): A man named Montresor tricks another man named Fortunato into the cellar underneath his house to taste a cask of wine he has aquired, but in reality he chains and buries him behind a wall, as vengance for "Numerous incidents" and an unspecified insult.
  • Wilt: Henpecked college lecturer Henry Wilt, victim of an obscene practical joke involving an inflatable sex doll, dresses it in his wife's clothes and throws it down a pile hole on a construction site (due to be filled with concrete); when his wife goes away on an impromptu holiday, Wilt must convince the police he has not disposed of her for real.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The American Experience: Averted in this documentary series episode on the Hoover Dam. A popular Urban Legend about the dam is that a worker or workers are entombed in the dam due to accidents during construction. As they confirm, this is not true — the dam's concrete was poured in small sections. This controlled the curing and allowed inspections for defects. A body would compromise the sections. No OSHA Compliance was still in effect at the time and there were other ways for workers to die or be severely injured in the dam's construction, but none of them were buried in the dam itself.
  • Angel. In "I Fall To Pieces", the Villain of the Week can detach and then reattach his own body parts, so after Angel takes his head off he's buried in separate metal boxes in a freeway construction in case he can survive decapitation as well.
  • The A-Team: In "Steel", the antagonist pressures an owner of a demolition company to turn a contract for the demolition of an old office building over to him. Turns out the antagonist had buried a business partner inside its foundations and doesn't want it dug up by anyone he can't keep reliably silent.
  • Castle: "A Chill Goes Through Her Veins" opens with a body being found on a construction site. It turns out the killer had hidden the body in a storage locker for several years until his death. When the storage company's owner found the contents, he feared it was a mob hit and attempted to dump the body in the wet concrete but missed.
  • Chicago P.D.: In the second season episode "What Puts You on That Ledge", Roman and Burgess investigate a squatter. Turns out he didn't want to leave because he had put his dead wife's corpse in the walls of the apartment.
  • Cold Case:
    • In ''Sherry Darlin'", the Body of the Week was bricked up inside the old coal chute in the basement of the house where she lived. The police didn't even know there was a cold case until someone phoned up to confess to murder and tell them where the body was.
    • Subverted in "Wings". A flight attendant was murdered in 1960 and her body was wrapped up and placed inside an unoccupied section of a hotel, which itself was soon abandoned and eventually torn down decades later, which led to her discovery.
  • Columbo:
    • Blueprint for Murder, in one of the rare cases of the series not showing the murder, it's continually implied that architect Elliot Markham stashed the body of wealthy industrialist Beau Williamson beneath the foundations for the city of the future he's building, so that as long as no one knows he's dead he can keep using his money for the project. Columbo eventually has it dug up only to find nothing, as intended by Markham, who had been stirring Columbo towards the idea all along, as now everyone knew Williamson wasn't buried down there he'd be free to actually stash the body without any danger of it being found. Unfortunately for him, Columbo figured out what he was planning and caught him in the act.
    • Columbo Likes the Nightlife has a Mafia Don's son, Tony Galper, hidden in this manner by Justin Price after his accidental Death by Falling Over, but unlike in Blueprint for Murder, Justin actually succeeds for most of the episode. However, Justin made the mistake of hiding the body underneath where an under-floor fish aquarium was to be installed, forcing him to make it undersized compared with the normal fish tanks. This irregularity attracts the attention of Columbo.
  • Criminal Minds: In the episode "Hopeless", the UnSubs of the Week are a bunch of psychotic contractors going on a city-wide killing spree for fun. At the midpoint of the episode, the BAU discovers that they stuffed one of their kills inside of the wall of a room they had been hired to remodel (and to make things worse, it was being used as a nursery).
    • Another episode had a couple renevating the new home discover a mummified body in one of the walls, with the subsequent investigation by the local cops and Rossi discovering that nearly all the walls and floor contain similair bodies.
  • CSI:
    • In "Loco Motives", a guy accidentally kills his wife and somehow decides that the best thing to do is bury her in fresh cement at a construction site... where he gets stuck himself.
    • The B Story of "The Case of The Cross-Dressing Carp" involves a body being found when an old casino is demolished. Although it appears that the casino might have been built on an Indian burial ground, the Body of the Week actually turns out to be an Intrepid Reporter who was snooping around a private mob party being held before the casino was officially opened. He was shot and dumped down one of the construction shafts which were then sealed off before the opening.
  • CSI: NY: "Tales from the Undercard" starts with the body of a retired boxer being found in freshly laid concrete on a construction site. CSI eventually determine that he had been participating in illegal underground fights. Thinking that he had died in one of the fights, his trainer and the fight organizer dumped his body in the concrete to keep the death quiet. Mac drops the bombshell that the victim was still alive when they buried him.
  • Dalziel and Pascoe: Becomes the crux in the television episode of "Bones and Silence", Dalziel investigates construction magnate Philip Swain convinced he murdered his wife despite it seeming she committed suicide. All the while Swain's company is refurbishing the Police Station's car park. Following Swain murdering his partner, he attempts to pass it off as suicide whilst also framing him for another murder he committed, eventually revealing the body is hidden under the car park. Dalziel, realising the woman they saw dead wasn't his wife but really a missing drug addict, orders them to keep digging up the rest of the car park and sure enough also find his wife's body which forensic evidence one proves that Swain murdered all of them.
  • Dexter: The Trinity Killer (who actually kills in fours) starts his kill cycle with a victim who's Buried Alive in cement at a construction site financed by his Church group. Trinity has travelled all over the country using the charity as a convenient cover to both find new victims in other areas and dispose of their bodies. He even keeps framed photos of the projects as a kill trophy collection right in his living room. These first murders were never tied to him because the bodies were never found, so they were classified as missing person cases instead of homicides.
  • In Diagnosis: Murder episode "A Model Murder", Wendy's mother had murdered Wendy's previous fiancées, the latter having been buried in a construction site.
    • "A History of Murder" is kicked off, when the body of Dr. Gregory Nordhoff is unearthed when Norman breaks open a wall in the hospital to break ground on new construction. The killer placed him in the wall when he killed him 30 years later.
  • Endeavour: In "Degüello", Councillor Berkit and his partner McGryffin dispose of the local borough surveyor who discovered they were embezzling funds meant to go into building a tower block, by burying him alive in the foundations. His body is only found a year later after the tower collapses on account of them using unsafe building materials.
  • The Equalizer. In "High Performance", a construction worker witnesses a murder being committed in the building opposite, however the police don't find a body. McCall works out that the killer disposed of the body by tossing it over the balcony into the construction site where a concrete pouring the next day hid the evidence.
  • Played with in Forever (2014) episode "The Pugilist Break". A victim's cell phone is buried under a newly constructed playground, but his actual body isn't.
  • Gangs of London: Used in the introduction of ruthless Nigerian gangster Mosi. Showing off a skyscraper he's having constructed whilst finalising a joint venture with Albanian Mob boss Luan, as a warning Mosi introduces Luan to the last person who failed him then having the walls of his cage boarded up, all whilst he's still pleading for mercy, Mosi then has it filled with concrete becoming one of the skyscraper's pillars. The scene pans out showing multiple other pillars, suggesting it's not the first time he's done this.
  • Harrow: In "Malum In Se" ("Evil in Itself") a body is bricked up behind a new wall being constructed in a suburban home undergoing renovation. It stays undisturbed for a decade until the new owners of the house start ripping out the old renovations.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street: In the Season 5 episode "Deception," a soon-to-be-released convict offers to tell Munch where to find the body of a man who had been killed years earlier. Munch has a construction crew dig up the spot — a parking lot section at a racetrack — but finds no trace of a body. It turns out that the "victim" is still alive, and the convict gets revenge for an earlier betrayal by tracking him down, killing him, and planting him under the lot before a crew repaves it.
  • Hudson and Rex: The culprit of "Haunted By The Past" hid the body of their victim from twenty years ago in a cemetery that was having a landscaping job done during that time, having hidden it underneath an area covered with stone tiles. But since the body wasn't buried that deep or inside a casket, its scent was able to be caught by Rex and unearthed.
  • The Incredible Hulk (1977): In "Broken Image", David Banner is mistaken for a look-alike gangster, and the goons of a rival gang try to murder him by burying him in concrete. Of course, this gets Banner excited enough to change into the Hulk and escape.
  • Jane the Virgin: Sin Rostro kills Emilio Salano by luring him to the construction site of the hotel's new pool and burying him in cement.
  • The Last Man on Earth: In season four, now living in Mexico, the group move into an abandoned mansion unaware that it used to belong to a ruthless Cartel boss the Aabuela. They spend the season in blissful ignorance until near the end when Todd is trying to modify a room into a nursery and accidentally splits the plaster, revealing a dead body in the wall. Upon doing a thorough search they end up finding a total of seventeen bodies within the walls, as well as stashes of guns, drugs, and explosives. This leads them to abandon it and Tandy attempting to blow the house up to cleanse away the crime, which he still fails at despite all the aforementioned available bombs.
  • Law & Order: One episode had the detectives reopen the case of a mob-connected lowlife who disappeared years earlier. The two wiseguys everyone thought did it had an alibi, they were supervising a concrete pour the day of the disappearance. Guess where they found the body (notably the two wiseguys were notoriously dumb).
  • Lois & Clark: "Don't Tug On Superman's Cape" features an eccentric wealthy couple the Newtrich's who want to add Superman to their vast collection of unique treasures. Already amongst their collection, they had Jimmy Hoffa's body, still stuck in a cement block with just one arm reaching out.
  • The Mentalist: "Red Tide" features an example where a security guard was punched and fell into the concrete. It is uncovered due to his nose still just being visible.
  • Midsomer Murders:
    • In "Garden of Death", the body of Cynthia Bennett was buried in the Memorial Garden (which was under construction then).
    • In "Red in Tooth & Claw", the killer attempts to bury his final victim (while still alive) in the concrete being poured for the foundation of a new heating oil tank, but is stopped by Barnaby and Winter.
  • Misfits: In the first episode, they bury the bodies of Gary and Tony under a flyover. A few episodes later, it turns out that an environmental monitoring station is due to be built there, so they have to hide the bodies in their local community centre; eventually, the corpses are returned to the flyover and dumped in the wet concrete foundations of the building site.
  • Monk: In "Mr. Monk and the Airplane", Mr. Chabrol and his mistress murder Mrs. Chabrol, stash her body in a suitcase, and bury it in wet cement at the airport, while the mistress disguises herself as Mrs. Chabrol so nobody will realize the murder victim is actually missing. It fails only because they happen to board the same plane as Adrian Monk.
  • Murder, She Wrote: In "The Legacy of Borbey House", the latest owner of Borbey House is the Victim of the Week, killed by the contractor he hired to do renovations. Why? The house was previously renovated by that same contractor, who had a fight with his fiancée, accidentally killed her, and hid her body within the walls of the house.
  • Mythbusters: The Mythbusters tested the idea that Jimmy Hoffa was disposed of in this manner (see Real Life). One of their tests was to bury a pig carcass under a fresh concrete sidewalk outside their workshop. It quickly became apparent that cement is not airtight, thus anyone in the vicinity could easily sniff out the rotting corpse.
  • New Tricks:
    • Discussed. Whilst they never could prove it, it is a known fact that Ricky Hanson, Jack Halford's Archenemy, murdered his younger brother for screwing up a big deal Ricky had been working on. It's speculated whenever the matter is brought up that Hanson buried the body underneath a new motorway.
    • In "The Last Laugh" whilst searching for two student activists who went missing in the 1980s, it eventually transpires that Hanson himself killed them both after being tipped off they had infiltrated the neo-Nazi group the Twenty Fours, whom he was using as a front for his drug ring. To dispose of the bodies, Hanson had the group's founder use his construction company to bury them under the conservatory they were building for Ray Harris (a controversial comedian who happened to have been a previous target of the activists) the same guy who tipped Hanson off (unaware Hanson was a murderous gangster), thus if they were ever found it would implicate him.
  • Prime Suspect: "Operation Nadine" kicks off when the new resident of a home has the concrete slabs covering his garden dug up, only for the workmen to discover the skeletal remains of a teenage girl buried underneath. Whilst initially assuming it to be a local girl whom the police failed to find two years previously (prompting a large amount of resentment from the area's primarily West Indian population) it's quickly discovered the body is in fact quite a bit older and leads Inspector Tennison onto the path of a twisted Serial Rapist, who killed one of his victims six years previously and then had the house's former resident help him pave over her to cover it up.
  • Psych: The core of the plot in "Earth, Wind, and...Wait for It". The murderer of the week hunted down and killed a group of arsonists a decade ago and stashed their bodies behind the drywalls of construction sites. When the buildings are scheduled for seismic retrofitting in the present, he starts burning them down to try to hide the evidence.
  • At the start of The Punisher (2017), Frank Castle is a construction worker and witnesses an attempted murder by the foundation method (it's also combined with Drowning Pit as the victim is conscious when they're thrown in). This is what convinces him to go back to his vigilante ways, starting with Frank hitting one of the would-be killers with a sledgehammer and throwing him into the foundation instead.
  • Revelations: Played With. When a mystically empowered villain boasts that he "shall not age a day, miss a target or receive a wound until a dozen angels sheer their wings into the sea and it weeps tears of gold back up to heaven," Damien sneers and throws him into a vat of wet concrete. "Guess you better hope that happens, then," is all Damien bothers to say about the prophecy as the immortal magician is trapped inside.
  • Saturday Night Live: During the Dennis Miller run of ''Weekend Update', disgraced Philippine politician Ferdinand Marcos passed away in exile. The Marcos family wanted to repatriate his remains but many in the Philippines were against it. Dennis Miller quipped that Giants Stadium in New Jersey "had plenty of room in the end zone" in reference to the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.
  • Silent Witness: The episode "Hope" is kicked off following a collision with a concrete pillar in a parking garage splitting it open to reveal a woman's skeleton buried inside. The killer managed to convince her husband whose company was building the site, to hide the body of a young woman she murdered after she had discovered she had kidnapped her twin sister years earlier.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Played with in "Eye of the Beholder". Troi has visions of a murder/suicide and at one point has Geordi scan a bulkhead. His scans show a skeleton embedded in the bulkhead. It was All Just a Dream based on the psychic residue from a Red Shirt that was The Empath but there were "traces of cellular residue with a psionic signature" on the bulkhead.
  • Tiger King: Discussed. Among the people who think that Carole Baskin had something to do with her husband's disappearance, one of the theories is that she had his body buried under a septic tank that was being installed around that time.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The New Exhibit", timid waxwork worker Martin Senescu ends up looking after wax figures of several infamous murderers, whom he has grown unnaturally attached to. Following his wife Emma attempting to destroy them, she is seemingly stabbed to death by the waxwork of Jack the Ripper. Upon finding it, realising the police won't believe a waxwork killed his wife, Martin drills a hole in the concrete basement, buries his wife underneath, and then covers it with a fresh layer of cement. Following Emma's brother Dave breaking into the basement and seemingly getting killed by the waxwork of Albert W. Hicks, Martin does the same to cover up his death.
  • Unforgotten: In Season 3, Hayley Reid's body was buried on the central reservation in the M1 by her murderer, Dr Tim who posed as a construction worker just for the thrill of doing so, and her skeleton was found in the first episode kicking starting the investigation.
  • Utopia: In the second season, Ian hides a body by stashing it in a small room of an unfinished building and bricking up the doorway.
  • A variation in Wiseguy. Someone tips off the feds about a murder that mafia boss Rick Pinzolo committed years ago to "make his bones". However, when they investigate the alleged burial site, they find that in the years since a construction company (that Pinzolo just happens to own) has built a mall on the site.

  • The Highwayman: In this song about the many reincarnations of the narrator, he states that his life as a construction worker working on Hoover Dam came to an end when he slipped and fell off of a scaffold into a form full of wet concrete and that the brick was added to the dam regardless. It being a popular Urban Legend this was the fate of several workers.

  • An Old Master Q strip has the titular character leaning against a wall, and seeing what appears to be a single human hair sticking out it's surface. Realizing the wall to be somewhat soft on the other side, Master Q then pokes a hole in it... and drags out a corpse, to his horror.

  • A favoured method of the gangster Gioli in Christmas Can Be Murder. She notes that sites with convenient concrete pours are harder to come by than she'd like, but much easier than other options.
    Gioli: Sometimes you get lucky and they're pouring concrete foundations. You just tip 'em in and there's still time to catch a movie! [...] That's how I saw Aladdin. The new one.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham City: Whilst exploring the Cyrus Pinkney Museum, which the Penguin has transformed into his base within Arkham City, at several points if you turn on Detective Vision it will reveal a number of corpses within the walls of the building. This is unremarked upon in the narrative, but considering the other horrors on display throughout the modified museum and brutal acts you witness at the hands of Cobblepot, it doesn't require much explanation.
  • A case in Criminal Case: The Conspiracy has the team investigating the murder of a lawyer who disappeared. It is shown that her killer walled her up in an apartment, and the body was only discovered due to a recent earthquake.
  • Fallout 4: In the Far Harbor DLC, if the player opts to kill High Confessor Tektus in order to resolve the main questline, they must hide the body in a fissure in a damaged wall, brick it up and move a shelving unit in front of it.
  • Frostpunk: The DLC The Last Autumn has two cases of this, both as a result of siding with engineers over workers.
    • After using Strike Busting to break a strike, you can get an event in which a worker disappears, and you are given the option to allow people to search for them. Regardless of what you choose, the worker won't be found. After this, one of your engineers will later confess to you in person about having a lethal altercation with the worker (a strike organizer) and disposing of his body by dumping it and covering it with cement at the generator construction site and asks if he has your blessing. You can choose to praise the overseer for a good job (which makes strikes less likely in the future but leads to workers occasionally "disappearing") or to punish the engineer.
    • Convicts who die working on the generator construction site do not get kept in morgues for repatriation to England. One of the laws, Rationalised Healthcare, notes that the bodies of convicts who die are disposed of in the foundations of the generator.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: One mission has CJ, using a cement truck, pushing a construction foreman into a rectangular pit while the foreman is locked inside a portable bathroom stall. CJ then proceeds to dump cement from the truck inside the pit.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City: Promotional work for the game implies this about Ricardo Diaz, saying he's contributed to foundations across the city.
  • Silent Hill 3: a walled-up corpse along with a silencer can be found on the construction site earlier in the game by striking a newly plastered wall on the fifth floor. This is supposed to be a cameo of Solid Snake from Metal Gear fame. It seems that in the Silent Hill universe, Snake failed his mission and met a most Undignified Death.
  • Shows up as a background gag in The Simpsons Hit & Run: One interactive joke has Bart or Apu turning on a cement mixer. Fully-formed cement will fall the shape of a human body...which breaks in two.
  • The Testament of Sherlock Holmes: Holmes finds the corpse of a magician walled up in a mill, shown in the page image above.

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends: In "Concrete Solution", Lumpy accidentally shoots Handy in the back of the head with a nail gun, causing him to get stuck in a block of wet cement. Lumpy tries to hide the deed by pushing Handy further into the cement. He eventually gets crushed to death by said cement block.

  • In Genocide Man, Peter Pup committed suicide via swan-dive into cement for pragmatic reasons: as one of the titular agents, his equipment had a Dead Man's Switch and enough Synthetic Plagues to depopulate a country. Even so, enough bioweapons seeped out of the cement to require the evacuation of two States.

    Western Animation 
  • The Cleveland Show: One episode has a Cutaway Gag that shows what Bob the Builder is like before his morning coffee; he kills a guy that makes him angry with a hammer and hides his body by covering it with concrete and building a house over it.
  • Family Guy: In "Emission: Impossible", Stewie's Imagine Spot Montage of what life with his prospective little brother Bertram would be like revolves around them teaming up to take down Lois, with the last one depicting them burying her in cement.
  • Robot Chicken: One segment has Bob the Builder dealing with a gang of thugs telling him he doesn't have the right equipment for the job and proceed to beat him up. Bob and his crew retaliate by killing all of them and burying them and covering the hole with concrete.
  • The Simpsons: In "Last Exit to Springfield", when Mr. Burns asks Smithers where the leader of the union is so they can discuss the new union contract, Smithers mentions that he hasn't been seen since he declared his intent to clean up the union — cue Cutaway Gag of a football player tripping over a body-shaped mound in the end zone of a football stadium. (Referencing a popular urban legend that famous missing labor leader Jimmy Hoffa was buried underneath Giants Stadium)
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: Spidey attempts to dispose of the Venom symbiote after tricking it into leaving Eddie Brock by putting it in a bag and dropping it into a patch of fresh-poured cement. In season two, Eddie tricks Spidey into revealing where he buried the symbiote, smashes the cement, and frees it. The symbiote is none the worse for wear after being trapped for what was at least weeks, which is not terribly surprising for an alien Blob Monster that can survive the vacuum of space.

    Real Life 
  • If somebody were to be unlucky enough to have any part of their body trapped in setting cement or concrete, two additional things happen to enhance the experience. Setting cement generates heat. Setting cement also expands slightly, which would constrict, even crush, anything within it. During the Marcos years in the Philippines, the delightful ruling couple ordered the construction of a prestige theatre and cinema complex so as to host an Asian film festival. To get it completed before the deadline, a lot of corners were cut and safety rules disregarded. The inevitable accident occurred when up to fifty building workers were trapped under pouring concrete which began setting. Many were smothered and killed, but others endured both the crushing and burning effects, said to be excruciatingly painful. Rumour has it that Imelda Marcos ordered rescue and recovery attempts to cease so that construction would not be delayed, and that the men set in concrete were buried where they had been trapped so as to leave no trace.
  • A popular theory about the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa is that his corpse was dumped in the foundations of the then-under-construction Giants Stadium in New Jersey. Busted by the Mythbusters, who went over all the traditionally rumored burial sites in the stadium with ground-penetrating radar. Re-busted in 2010 when the stadium was demolished and no human remains were found.
  • The ancient Longshan culture (3000-1900 BC) of China is known to have buried human sacrifices in the foundations of temples, walls, and the homes of the elites.
  • The Japanese used to practice a tradition called Hitobashira, or human pillar, a form of human sacrifice that would involve the victim being buried alive under or near large-scale buildings like bridges or castles, which was intended to protect the building from both natural and man-made calamity. The term can also refer to construction workers who are accidentally buried alive during construction, due to poor work conditions. Because of this, there are more than a few folk tales and urban legends surrounding the practice, such as Jomon Tunnel in Hokkaido, and the story of Maruoka Castle in Fukui Prefecture.
    • There was a similar practice with bridges in Europe.
  • The Trope Namer for The Great Wall, The Great Wall Of China, used a lot of labor in the construction of the various walls. Due to the number of deaths associated with it and the possibility that graves are under the wall for the sake of expediency, The Smithsonian Magazine calls it the "longest grave on Earth"
  • Infamous London Serial Killer John Reginald "Reg" Christie was finally exposed when, on the 24th of March 1953, the new tenant at his former flat, 10 Rillington Place, accidentally discovered a wallpaper-covered alcove when attempting to insert brackets. Peeling it back, he found three bodies. The resulting search likewise turned up Christie's missing wife buried under the floorboards of the front room.
  • There are funeral homes that will take the ashes after cremation from either relatives or pets and will make garden stepping stones out of them. One company even makes artificial reefs with the ashes.
  • There is a persistent Urban Legend that the Hoover Dam has several corpses in its structure of workers who fell in during pouring. This is actually false. The dam was built by "compartments"; with the concrete being poured rather slowly and several workers being present, it would be virtually impossible for a worker to fall in the concrete and not be noticed or rescued. The sections of concrete only rose a few feet per day, so the wet concrete at any point wouldn't be deep enough for a man to sink in. Even if they had died, the body would have been recovered, so as to not risk the structural integrity of the dam by having pockets of air in it where bodies decomposed.
  • The R504 Kolyma Highway in Russia is also known as the Road of Bones because all the prisoners shipped from the nearest Gulag camps who perished during the construction were buried underneath the road. It was deemed easier than digging new holes for the dead.
  • At the Texas summer camp El Tesoro, a dead horse was interred underneath the camp pool while it was being constructed. Whether this was an accident or intentional is a subject of camp legend.
  • Another famous but discredited urban legend said that the Great Eastern, an early steam ocean liner and the largest ship in the world at its launch, had had a worker accidentally trapped between the walls of its double-layered hull. The legend claimed that for years afterward, passengers and crew could hear his ghostly knocking within the walls, and that his skeleton was discovered when the ship was scrapped. Many people did die during the ship's construction, but there's no proof of the trapped worker or skeleton.
  • In 2000, Turkish police raided the safehouses of a group known as "Turkish Hezbollah"note  and found the bodies of some 200 individuals who had been murdered by the group and buried within the foundations or walls of the safehouses. Notably, the group had sold some of their former safehouses to legitimate buyers over the years, with these new owners forced to face the fact that they had been living atop the bodies of murder victims all along.


Video Example(s):


Emilio's Death

Emilio is killed by being buried in concrete.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / ConstructiveBodyDisposal

Media sources: