Missing body found trapped behind a freezer


Araby Scott, Contributor

Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada, twenty-five, was reported missing, almost ten years ago today, on November twenty-eighth, 2009. At the time of his disappearance, he was an employee of the No Frills supermarket in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The supermarket, having been closed for three years, was undergoing renovations. Contractors removed the freezers out from the wall on January 24 2019, revealing the ten-year-old body of  Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada.

Murillo-Moncada left his family home in a frenzy the morning he went missing. According to his father, he left the house during a snowstorm with no socks, shoes or car. It is possible that he was acting unusually due to the lack of his prescription medication. In 2009, his mother, Ana Moncada reported to police that her son seemed unsettled and that voices in his head were asking him to “eat sugar”. She went on further to say, “He felt his heart was beating too hard and thought if he ate sugar, his heart would not beat so hard”. Lastly, she stated, “He said somebody was following him, and he was scared.” The day of his disappearance he was not expected to be working at the supermarket. However, according to testimonies from previous employees, it was typical for workers who were not on shift to come in and out of the store.

As reported by prior staff members, it is thought that he climbed on top of the freezers. The space above the freezers, where he climbed was chiefly used as a storage area, but often times employees would hide in the space above the freezers in order to take unauthorized breaks. While on top of the twelve-foot freezer Murillo-Moncada fell backward, trapping himself in an eighteen-inch gap between the freezer and the wall.

Sgt. Brandon Danielson of the Council Bluffs police department, who was working on the missing person case back in 2009, arrived on the scene after the remains were positively identified as Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada. Sgt. Danielson commented on the volume of the freezer’s compressors, “It’s so loud, there’s probably no way anyone would hear him”.

The body was identified by taking DNA samples from Larry Ely parents’, Ana Moncada and Victor Murillo. The morning after his disappearance, Ana Moncada, Victor Murillo, and a friend went out to look for him, but with no avail. In an interview after his son’s body was identified, Victor Murillo said, “We couldn’t find anything. It felt like the earth had swallowed him whole”

The autopsy report stated that Murillo-Moncada’s death was accidental, as the body showed no signs of trauma. Previously, Murillo-Moncada was deported to Honduras, considering this, many people assumed that he had just been deported again.

After Murillo-Moncada remains were found, people took to Facebook to vent about the smell in the No Frills supermarket. One Facebook user posted “We went there once and the smell was so strong back there by the coolers that it made me sick I had to leave… never went back again.” A different person stated “I shopped there all the time and it smelled horrible!”. Another stating, “I always thought it smelled like something dead.”