Grocery store employee missing for 10 years found behind store’s cooler

Back in November 2009, Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada, then aged 25, was reported missing by his parents in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Ana Moncada, his mother, said back in 2009 that before he went missing, her son had started to become disorientated and reported hearing voices, with doctors giving Murillo-Moncada a prescription for anti-depressants. After Murillo-Moncada’s disappeared, his parents believed that he had become upset and run away, so their search efforts were broadly focused. 

Maria Stockton, a translator for Ana Moncada, said, “He was hearing voices that said ‘Eat sugar.’ He felt his heart was beating too hard and thought if he ate sugar, his heart would not beat so hard.” 

The search for Murillo-Moncada was unsuccessful, with authorities were unable to find any trace of the missing man until 10 years later – this past January. 

Investigators revealed to CNN that Murillo-Moncada’s remained were found in the former No Frills store – the place where he had been working before disappearing – earlier this year. Workers in the store were removing shelves and coolers from the building after the store closed down in 2016 when they stumbled upon the scene. According to Council Bluffs Police Captain, Todd Weddum, Murillo-Moncada’s body was found in an 18-inch gap between a cooler and the wall.

Police identified the body as Murillo-Moncada earlier this month. Former employees told the Omaha World-Herald that workers often used to climb up on top of the cooler because the area was used to store items. They also revealed that workers would sometimes hide in the gap if they wanted to take an unofficial break. 

Weddum said that the body showed no signs of trauma, so the death of Murillo-Moncada was ruled as accidental. Authorities believe that Murillo-Moncada must have fallen into the small space and was unable to get out. The loud sounds of the cooler’s compressors would have drowned out any cries for help that he may have attempted to make. 

This would mean that Murillo-Moncada’s body was in the store during the seven years that it was still open. 

Police were able to use DNA from his parents to confirm his identity, and the clothes from the body matched the description of the clothes that he was wearing when he went missing. 

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