A body was found in a towed car three days after the woman driving it crashed, leading family members to question whether the woman could have survived if police and a towing company had paid attention.
The body of the North Carolina woman was found on Monday, three days after her car was involved in a wreck. A state trooper ordered the car to be towed from the scene of the crash, and it sat in a storage yard for three days with the woman’s body inside of it.
The family of 62-year-old Carolyn Ann Watkins reported her missing early on Monday when she failed to show up for work. That led a Smithfield police officer to go to the car lot to look for clues about her disappearance. He found the woman’s body in the towed car, lying on the passenger side floorboard.
An accident report filed by North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Marlon Williams from Friday morning noted that Watkins’ 2000 Pontiac was found in a ditch about 30 miles southeast of Raleigh with both airbags deployed. He wrote that no body was found and ordered the car towed from the scene.
Police said it wasn’t clear when the woman found in the towed car actually died. She was last seen alive on Thursday.
Her son, who initially called police to report her missing, said his mother may have lived if police paid closer attention to her car.
“I’m thinking she could still have been alive,” Al Parker told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “How do you not look in the car? When you pulled the car out, how do you not see a body in the car?”
After the body was found in the towed car, Trooper Williams was placed on administrative duty while the case was reviewed by the State Bureau of Investigation. A man working at Dustin’s Towing and Recovery told a reporter that the highway patrol asked him not to talk about the incident.