The hot tub mystery: The story of a very hot tub (physiology)

Part I—The Discovery
Cast of Characters
• Sam Garrison—Detective
• Roma and Clint Underhill—Th e hot couple
• Kavita Dickson and Larry Gonzales—emt paramedics
• Renee Volenbach—Physiologist in the Biology Department at Noletown University
Friday, 7PM
Roma and Clint Underhill had both had a long day. Th ey were the owners of a successful real estate
company in Desert Palm. Each had several clients, and the strain of the current real estate market was
getting to them. It had been an unusually cool day for January, with temperatures hovering around 
degrees. On coming home they decided to relax in their hot tub with some wine. While Roma changed
from her work clothes, Clint said that he would join her in the hot tub after he took his Lasix.
Saturday, 8AM
“… Please state your emergency.”
“Oh, Oh, I… I… ”
“Ma’am, please calm down and tell me the address.”
“I think…, yes, OK, it’s… it’s  Oak Creek Drive.”
“What is the problem, please?”
“I’m the maid for Mr. and Mrs. Underhill and… and I didn’t fi nd them in the house when I came in this
morning, so I looked around outside. I just found them in their hot tub out back. Th ey are under the water.
Please come, please come now!”
“Yes, ma’am, I’m alerting the emts and an ambulance will be on the way. Please go out front and wait, so the
paramedics can fi nd the address quickly.”
Saturday, 8:10AM
Paramedics Kavita Dickson and Larry Gonzales brought the ambulance to a stop at the end of a long
driveway next to an impressive two-story mansion. Th e maid was on the front steps and quickly directed
them to the back patio where the hot tub could be seen.
Empty bottles of wine were on the ledge surrounding the hot tub. Kavita quickly climbed up the steps and
saw the bodies of the Underhills on the bottom of the hot tub. As she got into the water, she exclaimed,
“Th is water seems really hot. Let’s see if we can get them out.” Larry climbed in after her and together they
The Hot Tub Mystery:
The Story of a Very HOT Tub
Herbert House
Biology Department
Elon University, Elon, NC
“The Hot Tub Mystery” by Herbert House Page 2
dragged the bodies out of the hot tub and onto the patio. It was obvious that both had been dead for some
time. Kavita called the dispatcher.
“Listen, Linda, this hot tub case is a doa, but something is not right. How about sending the medical
examiner and a detective out to look the situation over. Tell them to bring a thermometer!”
1. What observations did the paramedics make?
2. List the questions raised about this situation or that you think that the investigators should ask of
the maid.
3. List any physiological effects that you think would be associated with this situation.
4. How might these physiological effects have contributed to the Underhills’ death?
5. Make an initial speculation about the cause of the Underhills’ death.

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