Nearly two weeks after 68-year-old Merrilee Cooley of Clackamas, Oregon went missing, her body was found stuffed into the trunk of her own vehicle, according to Oregon Live.
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office stated that Colley – who had mobility issues and needed a walker and a wheelchair to get around – was last seen alive by her family on Monday, December 26, 2016
Cooley and her friend Peggy Husman were supposed to go on a beach trip the upcoming weekend, but when she couldn’t reach Cooley for two days, she went to her mobile home where she lived alone and made a shocking discovery.
Cooley’s door was unlocked and her home appeared to have been ransacked.
Her walker was found knocked over in the hallway and her “purse had been emptied, but her credit cards and driver’s license were left behind.”
Cooley’s vehicle – a 2010 Kia Optima – was missing and relatives stated that it “wasn’t normal for her to wander off,” especially without her wheelchair and walking cane.
The Clackamas woman was reported missing under “suspicious circumstances,” prompting police officials to begin searching for Cooley.
Just shortly before 10 p.m. on Thursday, January 6, Cooley’s vehicle was found parked at the Miramonte Lodge Apartments in the 12200 block of Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard in Milwaukee, which is about five miles from where she lived.
While searching the vehicle, a police officer discovered the missing woman’s body in the trunk of the car, said the Clackamas County sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Jensen.
Investigators with the Milwaukee Police Department blocked off McLoughlin Boulevard for hours, collecting evidence, interviewing possible witnesses, and taking photos – anything that will help determine what happened.
Cooley’s body was transported to a local medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death.
As of now, it has only been reported that Cooley’s death is being investigated as a homicide.
Before the missing woman was found dead in the trunk of her car, residents at the apartment complex stated that they saw her vehicle parked outside, “in a strange spot,” for nearly a week.
We are still looking for Merrilee Cooley. Here’s a bulletin with pix/more information. If you see her or her car, call us at 503-655-8211. pic.twitter.com/boX2PpccVW— Clackamas Sheriff (@ClackCoSheriff) January 3, 2017
Eugenie Adama, who lives at Miramonte Lodge Apartments, stated that “I think is was on Saturday that I noticed it, but I don’t know how long it had been there.”
Another resident, Dylan Smith, said, “I have seen the story on the news and I never thought it would be around here or somewhere where I lived that her car would turn up.”
“That’s pretty scary.”
Shawn Mackey, who lives near the area where the body was found inside the trunk of a car, stated, “This is unsettling actually. In the trunk? Wow, ok.
Mackey went on to say that he “thought somebody parked where they shouldn’t have parked.”
“She loved people,” said Cooley’s daughter-in-law Wendy Eilers of Lebanon.
“Nobody was a stranger to her. She could start a conversation with anybody, and everybody was her friend.”
“I would love to pass on that we are so thankful for our family, our friends and our community. We have received so much support during these incredibly tough last 10 days. We are truly blessed.”
When authorities learned of Cooley’s mobility issues and being a “trusting person,” someone who would help everybody,” a police spokesperson stated that it is believed that “someone took advantage of her.”
One of Cooley’s neighbors has a surveillance camera that might show how she ended up dead inside of the trunk her car, but it has been reported that police officials have yet to view the footage as the neighbors are out of the country.
No one has been arrested in the death of the missing Clackamas woman, but an investigation is underway.
If you have any information about Cooley’s disappearance or death, you are urged to contact investigators at (503) 723-4949.
[Featured Image by Prathaan/iStock]