The body of a woman who had been missing for six years showed up in the most unlikely of places — an old upright freezer belonging to a dead man.
Heather Anne Lacey was 30 when she was last seen six years ago. Her body was discovered by Lilian Argueta, who runs a scrap business with her husband, Pedro Rodriguez, in Hollywood, Florida. The freezer had been delivered to her business and Argueta had planned to use it for scrap parts.
She did what any normal person would do when she opened the door and saw a body — she screamed.
“It thought it was a witch, or a mannequin. I thought, ‘It can’t be a person.’ But there was a bad odor,” Argueta, 55, said, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Argueta’s cries caught the attention of others nearby, including mechanic Steven Calcano.
The Sentinel reported that Argueta and Calcano were shocked when they found out that Lacey was a pale blonde woman, saying the body in the freezer was shrunken, with dark, mummy-like skin. The newspaper reported that Lacey’s face was turned to one side and her arms were raised as if she died trying to push the door open. Her legs were reportedly crammed against her upper body, they said.
They wondered how Lacey ended up inside the freezer.
“Every once in a while I think, ‘Why would this happen, and how would it happen?'” Calcano said.
He is not alone. Lacey’s family has been trying to piece together what happened to Lacey when they stopped hearing from her.
Lacey had a troubled past that included drug abuse and prostitution, but she always managed to stay in touch — especially around the holidays.
In December 2013, Lacey’s father, Randell Lacey, filed a missing persons report with the Broward Sheriff’s Office. He reportedly told authorities she lived on the streets and was bipolar, the Sentinel reported.
How did the body of Heather Anne Lacey end up inside a freezer at a Margate scrap yard? Heather had been missing nearly six years before her remains were found. @HollywoodFLPD https://t.co/eo4HMknn1h— Linda Trischitta (@LindaTrischitta) May 13, 2019
Photo: The Lacey sisters in 2011: Amber, Michelle and Heather. pic.twitter.com/Apmufdk3KS
Strangely, Lacey’s body would not have been discovered had it not been for another body that was discovered some 20 miles away. That body belonged to Jonathan Escarzaga, 36, who was found dead in his apartment after neighbors reported foul smells coming from the area.
After authorities investigated Escarzaga’s apartment, the building manager hired a company to remove the appliances inside, including the upright freezer. It eventually ended up at Argueta’s scrap company.
The police have not indicated if Lacey knew Escarzaga or if he had any role in her death, the Sentinel reported. Police also aren’t saying if they suspect they know what led to Lacey’s death. The police report given to the family was heavily redacted, and police are reportedly withholding any findings from Lacey’s autopsy.