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Body Found in Supermarket Identified as Employee Who Disappeared 10 Years Ago

"[The coolers were] so loud, there's probably no way anyone heard him."

by Jelisa Castrodale
Jul 23 2019, 8:55pm

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In January, contractors were working in the now-vacant building that used to be the No-Frills Supermarket in Council Bluffs, Iowa. When they started to remove the former store's long-empty shelving units and coolers, they made an absolutely terrifying discovery: a human body that the authorities believe could've been in the store "for years."

According to the Des Moines Register, city investigators could not immediately determine the person's sex or age, or whether their death was caused by a physical trauma. The body was sent to the Iowa State Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy and, on Monday, state officials identified the deceased as Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada, who was reported missing almost 10 years ago.

Murillo-Moncada was 25 years old at the time of his disappearance, and was an employee at the same No-Frills Supermarket where his body was found. The Council Bluffs Police Department told the Register that his parents reported him missing on November 28, 2009. "It was a snowstorm at the time," Sgt. Brandon Danielson said. "He left with no shoes, no socks, no keys, no car."

His mother, Ana Moncada, told The Daily Nonpareil that he'd gone to work two days earlier—the night of Thanksgiving—and seemed "disoriented" when he came home the next morning. She took him to a doctor who prescribed an antidepressant, but she said that he started hearing voices that told him to eat sugar. “He felt his heart was beating too hard and thought if he ate sugar, his heart would not beat so hard," she said shortly after he vanished. "He said somebody was following him, and he was scared."

Former No-Frills employees confirmed that sometimes workers would climb into the space above the coolers, which was also used for storage. Investigators think that, after he ran out of his parents' home, Murillo-Moncada may have pulled himself on top of the coolers, but somehow fell behind them and became trapped. He could've fallen almost 12 feet into the approximately 18-inch wide space between the coolers and the wall. "[The coolers were] so loud, there's probably no way anyone heard him," Danielson said.

Murillo-Moncada was identified using DNA from his parents; according to the results of an autopsy, his death was deemed to be accidental. After a decade of wondering what could've happened—or wondering whether he could still be out there somewhere—this brings the worst kind of closure for his remaining family members. Rest in peace, Larry.