Remains of supermarket employee missing for a decade discovered behind cooler

Justin Chan

A decomposing body found at a former supermarket in Iowa has been identified as that of man who had been employed at the store, the Des Moines Register reports. 

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation identified the man as Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada of Council Bluffs, who had gone missing in November 2009 when he was 25 years old, police said on Monday. Murillo-Moncada's body was first found on January 24, when contractors were removing coolers at the now defunct No Frills Supermarket, which shut down three years ago. 

Law enforcement said Murillo-Moncada's parents reported him missing on November 28, 2009, after he got upset and left their home. 

"It was a snowstorm at the time," said Sgt. Brandon Danielson of the Council Bluffs Police Department. "He left with no shoes, no socks, no keys, no car."

Danielson said that Murillo-Moncada was not scheduled to work the day he went missing and most likely went to the supermarket, which management said was common for employees who were not on their shifts. Authorities added it was also normal for employees to hang in the space on top of the freezer units, which was used for storage at the time. 

Police now believe that Murillo-Moncada may have entered that space but fell into a gap between the back of the coolers and the wall that measured 18 inches tall. The fall would have been at least 12 feet and made it difficult for him to call for help amid the loud noise that was emitted from the freezer units, Danielson told the Register. 

"It's so loud, there's probably no way anyone heard him," Danielson said. 

Officers had previously reached out to relatives, other law enforcement agencies, detention centers and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in their attempt to find Murillo-Moncada, according to CNN. Murillo-Moncada had previously been deported to Honduras before he re-entered the U.S. 

Council Bluffs police said a recent autopsy showed no signs of trauma to Murillo-Moncada, and his death was ultimately ruled accidental. Authorities now consider the case closed. 

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