ELKHART — Officials said they will need more time to know more about how a man died before his body was found in an SUV in the Old Farm Apartments complex on Sunday, May 26.
John White, Elkhart County coroner, said an autopsy was performed on Tuesday, but he will wait on toxicology and microscopic tissue examination results before declaring a cause and manner of death.
White said further investigation, including police interviews with witnesses, is needed to determine how long the man’s body was in the vehicle.
Police were called at about 7 p.m. Sunday to the 800 block of H Lane on the south side of Elkhart. According to a press release from the police department, “A subject was located in that area. The subject was deceased.”
Marta Del Cid, a resident of the area, said a gold Chevy Blazer had been parked out of place in the parking lot over the weekend. Though they had never seen that vehicle near their apartment, Del Cid and her husband didn’t think much of it until Sunday, when they parked next to the truck and looked inside.
“The doors were unlocked. We went over to look inside and saw a man laying on the back seat,” she said.
Del Cid’s husband called and waited for police without disturbing the scene. Del Cid said she could see it was a man, but she couldn’t tell how old the person was.
“We didn’t know if he was hurt or dead,” Del Cid said.
Terressa Williams, who also lives nearby, said she thought something was not right about the truck. Since she had never seen the Blazer before last week, she didn’t think the man inside lived in the area.
“I felt something was wrong about (the truck), but I never saw anyone near it in those few days it was parked out there,” she said.
Williams said she saw some neighbors park near the truck before she saw police at the scene blocking the road.
The Homicide Unit is investigating the incident. The unit investigates any death with odd circumstances or unanswered questions, according to police Lt. Mike Sigsbee. That includes homicides, suicides, accidental deaths and industrial accidents.
Police are not releasing more details about the person because his family hasn’t been located and notified, the press release said.
“Kids were out there playing. Days, and we did not know there was a body in that truck,” Williams said.
This is the fourth incident involving a death at the Old Farm Apartments in less than four years.
In July 2009, Alphonso James Jr., 24 was shot and killed, and Noble Dennie was wounded during a drug deal. Bruce White and Charles Farrell were convicted of murder and felony murder for James’s death and each sentenced to more than 60 years in prison. In November 2011, police were called to investigate the death of Jermell Williams, 34. No one has been charged in Williams’ death.
Last year Benjamin Moleski, 22, died of a gunshot wound, though police deemed the shooting accidental.