Two men who allegedly found a body inside a vehicle that was advertised as a “free car” have said they drove the car through several towns in Mississippi before making the shock finding.
Police in Copiah County told WLBT, a local TV station, that the two men found the car on the outskirts of Jackson, Mississippi, before driving 30 miles south on Sunday.
Copiah County sheriff Byron Swilley said the men arrived home and found the body of 34-year-old Anthony McCrillis in the boot of the car. His body was unclothed, and had allegedly been there for days.
The men told officers the vehicle was parked on the side of a road by a junkyard in Byram, with a sign on the front reading “free car”. It also had a key already in the ignition, allowing the two men to drive off.
Ellis Stuart, the Copiah County coroner, said the vehicle had been seen in Byram and Jackson for several days before it was taken at the weekend. McCrillis, meanwhile, was last seen on Friday evening.
It was believed he owned the vehicle, and according to Byram Police chief David Errington, was identified by immediate family.
Chief Errington told WLBT that “It stayed there all day long for sure until 6 PM, [and] Saturday night, it was still seen by another employee from the [Starz Auto Sales] junkyard.”
Dan Peacock, an employee at the junkyard, said he passed the car a number of times on Saturday, and that it had vanished by Sunday.
“[I] never stopped and looked or anything, but I knew it was kind of unusual. I figured somebody was driving down here to sell it. We buy a bunch of cars. I figured somebody was driving down to sell it, and it quit on them or something,” said the junkyard employee. “Just never dawned on me that something like that went on.”
Police in Copiah and Byram are reportedly deciding who takes jurisdiction over the investigation, and an autopsy was due to be carried out to determine an official cause of death.