The body of Lauren Moss was found in a Walmart parking lot several months after she had gone missing. The 22-year-old Seaside, California, woman went missing in November after she had been released from a treatment center.
Walmart employees at the Salinas, California, store noticed the same car had been parked in the same spot for several weeks and called the police to investigate the matter. The car owned by Lauren Moss had dark windows, and a sun shield had been placed in the front window.
— KTLA (@KTLA) February 11, 2016
Monterey County Sheriff’s Office investigators believe that the missing woman’s body had likely been sitting in the Walmart parking lot for months before it was noticed, USA Today reports. Moss was last seen driving her silver Volkswagen Jetta when she left a Seaside rehabilitation center on November 13. Her loved ones had filed a missing persons report, but no leads had materialized before the discovery of her vehicle on February 3.
Lauren Moss is believed to have committed suicide. A suicide note and an empty syringe were found next to her dead body in the Walmart parking lot. Toxicology reports have not yet been completed, and an official cause of death is still pending in the case.
Salinas Police Commander Vincent Maiorana told local KTLA-TV News that surveillance camera footage of the California Walmart parking lot showed the car owned by Moss had been sitting in the same spot since at least December.
Missing woman’s body was in Walmart parking lot for months https://t.co/4R2StRiWS4 pic.twitter.com/qN4B3jqmtH
— WFMY News 2 (@WFMY) February 11, 2016
By the time police investigators discovered the body of the missing woman, it was badly decomposed. The victim’s sister did not reveal what was said in the suicide note left behind for the family. She did confirm to local reporters that a drug needle was found beside the body. The sister believes that Lauren died not long after injecting herself with drugs. The type of addiction the missing woman had been undergoing treatment for has not been made known to the public.
Although the California Walmart has 24-hour security cameras, the location does not have safety personnel patrolling the parking lot. The available surveillance camera footage only dates back to December, but officers believe Moss parked in the lot on or about the same day she left the rehab facility.
The city of Seaside is home to about 33,000 people and the California State University of Monterey Bay. Salinas, where the body of the missing woman was found, is the seat of Monterey County. About 11 people per day died due to drug abuse in California, according to a Visually report. A total of 40,000 emergency room visits each year in the state are reportedly drug related.
According to drug abuse statistics shared by Sun Street Centers, a substance abuse rehabilitation center in Monterey County, in 2013, an estimated 7.7 million adults aged had co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders in the past calendar year.
“As a result, by 2020, Mental and Substance use disorders will surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability world wide,” the report added.
A Monterey Herald report revealed that changes to the state Medi-Cal program ushered in by Obamacare expanded coverage for substance abuse treatment. The healthcare changes led to 40,000 new applicants for drug abuse treatment in the county.
Check back with the Inquisitr for more details about this breaking news story as additional details become available.