Froilán Orozco: the man who embalmed more than 50,000 bodies during the time of violence in Colombia

During the most violent times that Colombia had to go through, Froilan Orozco Duartea retired army officer, embalmed more than 50,000 bodies of people who died during the violent decade of the 1990s. Some died from natural causes, others from accidents, and some from homicides. Although sometimes he cared for people with families, on most occasions he collected the corpses of junkies and sex workers, to whom he offered his funeral services so that they they could say goodbye with dignity to this world.

Froilán Orozco Duarte fixed corpses at low costs in Colombia. Photo: Capture Orozco: The Embalmer/Kiyotaka Tsurisaki

This way, about five or ten bodies were admitted daily in his improvised studio, where he used rudimentary tools such as kitchen knives, a bucket, sponges, scissors, gloves, an apron, cloth and basic makeup with which he sought to erase the appearance of the dead, especially when they had started violent conditions.

This story fascinated the Japanese photographer Kiyotaka Tsurisakiwho used to collect photographs of deaths around the world, asked orozco follow him for three years in order to document his work in the zone of the cartridgeconsidered at that time as the most dangerous area of ​​Bogota and the world.

Froilán Orozco Duarte collected the corpses of junkies and sex workers. Photo: Capture Orozco: The Embalmer/Kiyotaka Tsurisaki

Thus, in the documentary “Orozco: The Embalmer”the former army officer opened up emotionally and shared his motivation for working in this job for 40 years, indicating that he was looking for redemption in this way fix more dead than he claimed to have killed.

Thus, Froilán received the bodies, laid them out on a majolica bed with grids, where he cleaned the bodies, removed the organs momentarily and removed all the blood to later fill them with cloth, with which he explained the corpse did not deform. Once this was done, he dressed them and made up so that he could transfer it to their coffins, a service in which his clients avoided each other. spend about 10,000 to 50,000 Colombian pesos from that time.

Froilán Orozco Duarte received from 5 to 10 corpses per day to be embalmed. Photo: Capture Orozco: The Embalmer/Kiyotaka Tsurisaki

This documentary not only coldly shows the impact that violence can have on people’s bodies, but also reflects the sacrifice that orozco made in his life, since carrying and manipulating the corpses that he arranged caused him a hernia that led to peritonitis, lto which he ended his life in February 1998.