Police are investigating the discovery of a man’s body Wednesday in a van for sale at a used car lot in Des Moines.
An employee of the lot, in the 22000 block of Pacific Highway South, was checking on the 1986 Ford Econoline and found the body slumped over in the middle of the vehicle shortly before 12:20 p.m., police said.
“He opened up the door and was immediately greeted by a terrible smell,” Des Moines police Sgt. Doug Jenkins said. “He poked his head in and saw a … man who was obviously deceased.”
Investigators believe the man in his 30s may have been a transient and did not die of foul play, he said.
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The King County Medical Examiner’s Office will identify him and determine his cause of death, a report Jenkins said could take weeks to complete, pending toxicology results.
“It’s a death investigation, and we have to investigate it like it’s a crime scene,” he said. “We’re going to have to wait and see what the M.E. finds.”
It’s unclear if the van was unlocked, though it showed no signs of forced entry, Jenkins said. The car lot acquired the vehicle three weeks ago, he said.
Employees last checked on the full-sized van over the weekend, Jenkins said, so investigators believe the body could have been there for any length of time since then.
Jessica Lee: 206-464-2532 or firstname.lastname@example.org