Man missing for 10 years found dead behind freezer of store where he used to work

Man missing for 10 years found dead behind freezer of store where he used to work

The body of an Iowa man who mysteriously vanished a decade ago has been discovered trapped behind a freezer at the grocery store where he used to be employed. Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada’s remains were finally found when contractors began gutting the site of the No Frills Supermarket, finally solving a case that had haunted investigators for nearly 10 years. 

The body itself was actually unearthed in January this year, when external workers began removing the store’s shelving and storage units. Police were summoned to the scene, but were unable to identify Murillo-Moncada due to the advanced degree of decomposition, according to a contemporary report by 6 News. It was not until very recently that officials were able to match the remains with DNA samples, and detailed descriptions of what Murillo-Moncada was wearing on the night of his disappearance. 

Exactly how Murillo-Moncada found himself in such a predicament is not clear. Initially reported missing on 28th November 2009, early investigators were told that he had become “delusional”, running away from his parents’ home “barefoot”.

Sgt. Brandon Danielson from the Council Bluffs police told the Des Moines Register that Murillo-Moncada had left with "no shoes, no socks, no keys, no car," while his parents surmised that his erratic behaviour may have been caused by prescription medication. 

Murillo-Moncada, who was 25 years old at the time of his disappearance, was not scheduled to be at work on the day that he vanished. However, management at No Frills pointed out that employees often entered and exited the store freely, whether or not they were due on shift. This may explain how a possibly disoriented and confused Murillo-Moncada found himself in the store, which was located barely a mile from his home. 

As to how the unfortunate man found himself trapped in an 18-inch gap between cooling unit and wall - police believe they may have an answer. Evidence from other ex-No Frills employees suggest that it was not unusual for workers to take unofficial breaks on top of the coolers, implying that Murillo-Moncada may have slipped and become trapped. 

Police also believe that the noise produced by the industrial units would have been enough to obscure his cries for help. As Sgt. Danielsen told The Register, it was "about a 12-foot fall" from the top of the unit, adding that, "The noise of the freezer units also could have made it difficult to hear any cries for help."

Police have now closed the case and ruled the tragedy as an accidental death.