A Father Wants Answers After His Missing Son’s Body Was Found in an Abandoned Grocery Store

Wire Service
By Wire Service
July 25, 2019USshare
A Father Wants Answers After His Missing Son’s Body Was Found in an Abandoned Grocery Store
Larry Murillo-Moncada's parents told police he'd been acting irrationally, possibly because of medication. (Iowa Department of Public Safety)

Larry Murillo-Moncada’s body was found behind the cooler at an abandoned No Frills supermarket in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and father Victor Murillo wants answers.

Murillo-Moncada left home upset on the night of November 28, 2009, and had been reported missing by his parents. After nearly 10 years went by with no answers, his body was finally found and identified.

In January, workers removing equipment at the supermarket, which CNN affiliate KCCI says closed in 2016, found the body and reported it to police. After collecting DNA from Murillo-Moncada’s parents, officials were able to identify his remains.

The couple finally has some closure after nearly 10 years, but questions still remain.

“We went out to find him, my wife and I,” Murillo told CNN affiliate KETV of the night their son went missing. “Another friend came to help me. We got up early and couldn’t find anything. It felt like the earth had swallowed him whole.”

Murillo-Moncada was reported missing during a snowstorm, and his parents believe that he may have been off his prescription medication and not in the right frame of mind. Though a number of clues point to how that night unfolded, they may never know the full truth.

“Our heads are spinning, finding this out after so many years, and it is distressing. It makes us feel a lot of pain,” Murillo said.

Murillo said he is in the process of filing the paperwork to get his son’s body back.

Investigation

Investigators now believe that Murillo-Moncada went to the supermarket and climbed on top of the coolers. The space was used as storage for merchandise, Council Bluffs Police Captain Todd Weddum said, and employees would sometimes go there to hide when they wanted to take an unofficial break.

He is thought to have fallen into the 18-inch gap between the back of the cooler and a wall, where he became trapped. Noise from the coolers’ compressors may have concealed any attempts to call for help, according to Weddum.

Officials don’t know how any odors emanating from his decomposing remains went unnoticed for years.

“They closed the building,” Murillo said. “The freezers weren’t working anymore. So how can a body just be there?”

An autopsy found no signs of trauma, and the case has been deemed an accidental death.

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