Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada went missing without a trace a decade ago, and now contractors working at the same supermarket where the young man worked have made a gruesome discovery — the decomposed remains of the employee wedged behind a cooler in the store.
The man was last seen at his Iowa home before he went missing in November of 2009. As CNN reported, the man’s parents reported him missing after he became upset and ran from the home. Family members told police that Larry was acting irrationally, which could have been a side effect of the medication he was taking at the time, the report added.
That prompted a search that spanned across the United States and Honduras, where Murillo-Moncada had been deported before returning to the United States. They searched nearby immigrant detention centers to see if he had been picked up by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, but investigators could not find any trace of the missing man.
The body was found by contractors who were removing freezer units from the now-closed No Frills Supermarket, the Des Moines Register reported. At the time, the store had been closed for close to three years. The remains could not be identified at first, as the contractors reported that it appeared to have been there for quite some time.
Officials now believe that Murillo-Moncada may have retreated to a place inside the store and on top of the cooler where merchandise was sometimes stored and where employees would go to hide for an unofficial break, but fell into an 18-inch gap between the cooler and the wall and became trapped. In an even more tragic twist, the noise from the compression in the coolers may have drowned out any cries for help.
“It’s so loud, there’s probably no way anyone heard him,” Sgt. Brandon Danielson with the Council Bluffs Police Department told the Des Moines Register. Danielson had worked the original missing persons case when Murillo-Moncada disappeared a decade ago and said when the body was first found the former employee was the first person he thought about.
It was not clear how his body avoided detection for so long, especially among the other employees, and the reports did not give his exact cause of death.
Workers removing shelves and coolers from a former No Frills Supermarket in Iowa discovered a body behind one of them in January. The remains were recently identified as those of a former employee who had been reported missing in 2009. https://t.co/3iGpTRdim1
— CNN (@CNN) July 22, 2019
Police said that Murillo-Moncada’s body was actually found back in January, and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation collected DNA from Murillo-Moncada’s biological parents in order to make a positive identification, the Des Moines Register noted. The report added that an autopsy was conducted, showing no signs of trauma. His death had been ruled an accident.