For those of us who love movies, the thought of dying at a theater has its appeal. But the circumstances surrounding the demise of George DeGrazio aren't the stuff of good reviews, particularly when it comes to the Cinemark cinema chain. That's because he apparently perished in a bathroom, where his body stayed for five days after he showed up to watch The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -- so long that by the time his corpse was recovered, he had started to decompose.
DeGrazio, a 66-year-old Fort Collins resident, had been missing since January 9. Later that week, his car was discovered in the parking lot of the area Cinemark 16, but police searched the area and found nothing.
The following Saturday, however, a foul stench was noticed emanating from a locked theater bathroom. No one on staff had a key, so they busted in using a wrench -- and discovered DeGrazio, dead of an apparent heart attack.
According to a police report obtained by 7News, DeGrazio had a ticket stub for the noon screening of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in his pocket. This item was in better shape than his body, which had started to decompose.
The report doesn't reflect well on the theater staff. Police asked for video footage that might have shown DeGrazio but were told the cameras were only focused on cash registers and couldn't capture images of customers. A request for credit-card receipts was rebuffed with a lame excuse, too: They'd already sent the documents to the corporate office. And management claimed to have conducted a thorough search of the premises without mentioning a certain bathroom that was inaccessible because it had been locked from the inside.
Upon the grisly discovery, DeGrazio's son, Dylan, ripped Cinemark for failing to reach out, telling 9News, "Come on! You just had a human being pass in your facility, in your business establishment -- and you can't even stretch your hand out to apologize to the family affected by it? That's poor ethics."
Yesterday, Cinemark reps finally released a statement of condolences at the same time they announced that five members of the theater's management team had been put on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
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Such an inquiry probably shouldn't take too long. I think most of us can agree that theater lavatories should be cleaned once a day at minimum. After all, we prefer shockers on the screen, not in the bathroom. Look below to see a 9News report about DeGrazio's death.
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