VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Michigan—Authorities say they’ve found the body of a southeastern Michigan man who disappeared last week.
The Washtenaw County sheriff’s office confirmed that the body of Marcus Esper was found on Saturday, March 30, in Van Buren Township.
The family of a Metro-Detroit man who’s been missing since Monday is pleading for his safe return. Marcus Esper, who hasn’t missed a day of work in 30 yrs, disappeared after heading to a storage facility in Ypsilanti. https://t.co/XOtB0KlWKe
— FOX 47 News (@FOX47News) March 30, 2019
The Superior Township man was last seen in Ypsilanti Township on March 25, he planned to rent a storage facility where he could temporarily store his family’s personal possessions, while looking for a new place too live, according to Esper’s sister, Johnna Esper.
The vehicle he was driving, a white 2013 Buick LaCrosse, was located near Sumpter Road in Belleville.
Authorities recovered his car last Wednesday night outside a church in Belleville. “We have no idea why he’d be in Belleville,” Johnna said.
She continued that Esper previously lived in Belleville on Sumpter Road, but moved away nearly a decade ago.
“This is really one of those suspicious cases because he has not missed a day of work in 30 years, and all of a sudden, he’s missed a day and there’s no sighting of him since he left,” Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Eugene Rush said, according to MLive.com.
Esper never showed up at the storage facility, authorities reported.
The death of Marcus Esper is under investigation, but foul play isn’t suspected.
Over 600,000 people go missing in the United States every year, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
Many of the missing adults and children are found safe but others are never found or are found dead.
“It is estimated that 4,400 unidentified bodies are recovered each year, with approximately 1,000 of those bodies remaining unidentified after one year,” the center stated.
As of Jan. 22, there were 15,325 open missing person cases in addition to 12,449 open unidentified person cases.
As of Dec. 31, 2017, the National Crime Information Center had over 88,000 active missing person cases across the country. But hundreds of thousands of cases were resolved that year.
Approximately 651,000 missing person records were entered but about the same number were removed.
“Reasons for these removals include: a law enforcement agency located the subject, the individual returned home, or the record had to be removed by the entering agency due to a determination that the record is invalid,” the center stated.
The first 72 hours in a missing persons case is the most critical, according to criminology experts. That’s partly because investigators have the best chance of following up on leads before people’s memories start to fade, Dr. Bryanna Fox, former FBI agent and criminology professor at the University of South Florida, told ABC News.
“The information that law enforcement gets tends to be a little more accurate, and they are able to act on the information and hopefully get that person who is missing quicker,” Fox said. Later, there are fewer “bread crumbs,” or leads, to follow.
Dr. Michelle Jeanis, criminology professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said that time is of the essence because the missing person could be in danger.
After about a week, the person could very likely be dead, said former FBI Special Agent in Charge Steve Gomez. “There’s a certain point after about a week or two where you have to think, the potential that the missing person is dead and now it’s a matter of trying to find their body and bring closure to the family and to determine if you now have a homicide investigation, or suicide, or some kind of accidental death,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.