Things That Matter

Ten Years After Going Missing, A Latino Man’s Body Was Found Behind The Supermarket Where He Worked And Some People Are Shocked

Ten years ago, Iowa worker Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada disappeared, with family members, desperate for answers, completely in the dark about his whereabouts, and a police force similarly bewildered by his vanishing. On Monday, the Council Bluffs, Iowa community finally received some answers: the remains found at a vacant supermarket in the area back in January were identified as that of Murillo‐Moncada.

The man was an employee at the same supermarket his body was found at 10 years after going missing.

Credit: @Complex / Twitter

The man, who worked at the No Frills Supermarket Store on West Broadway, had been missing since November 28, 2009. According to ABC News, the 25-year-old Honduran immigrant stomped out of his parents’ home seething during a snowstorm that fall. The Des Moines Register added that Murillo‐Moncada ran out of his house “with no shoes, no socks, no keys, [and] no car.”

The late man’s mother, Ana Moncada, said she is still unsure what prompted her son’s anger and departure. At the time of his disappearance, she told the Daily Nonpareil that after returning from work on Thanksgiving night, he seemed disoriented. She took him to the doctor, where he was prescribed an antidepressant, the day before he went missing, but she noted that he continued to appear confused and had even expressed that he was beginning to hallucinate. 

“He was hearing voices that said ‘eat sugar,’” Maria Stockton, a friend who served as a translator for his mother, told the paper back in 2009. “He felt his heart was beating too hard and thought if he ate sugar, his heart would not beat so hard.”

She added: “He said somebody was following him, and he was scared.”

The family believed that he was acting irrationally because of the new medication.

Authorities surmise Murillo‐Moncada left his home and went to the supermarket where he was employed but wasn’t scheduled to work that day and sat on top of some coolers. According to former employees of the now shut-down establishment, the area, which was used as storage for merchandise, was a common space for workers to rest during their breaks when they wanted to be alone. 

His parents said he had ran out of the house without shoes and thought people were after him.

Credit: @InsideEdition / Twitter

Officials believe that while sitting on the cooler, Murillo‐Moncada fell within an 18-inch gap between the back of the large appliance and a wall and became trapped. They notion that if he had fallen sideways, as they suspect he did, and as a result had gotten crammed in, he likely would not have been able to scream for help. Even if Murillo‐Moncada had cried out, they presume it would have been almost impossible to hear his wails over the tremendously loud noise of the coolers.

With Murillo‐Moncada’s parents unaware of where he stormed off to and employees not expecting him in the store on his day off, investigators did not consider searching the supermarket, Council Bluffs police Sgt. Ted Roberts told ABC News. During the time of the probe, officers contacted family members, other law enforcement agencies, nearby detention centers and even the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, as Murillo-Moncada had been deported to Honduras before returning to the United States. However, authorities say they never received information regarding his possible whereabouts. As a result, the body, which was hidden and had gone unnoticed for almost 10 years, was badly decomposed.

His body has decayed so badly, it took months to identify the victim.

Credit: @DMRegister / Twitter

On January 24, 2019, a crew that was removing shelving and coolers at the now-vacant grocery store discovered the body. His corpse had so severely decayed that it took months for the body to be identified as that of Murillo-Moncada. Medical examiners were ultimately able to determine the remains through DNA analysis, police said. Council Bluffs Police Capt. Todd Weddum told CNN that investigators used his parents’ DNA to confirm the identity and noted that the clothes matched the description of his outfit at the time he was reported missing.

Police did not offer an official cause of death, but they have ruled it accidental as the autopsy report did not show signs of trauma.

While the discovery answers many questions for a family and police force that for a decade had little-to-no knowledge on Murillo-Moncada’s location and condition, several queries remain, namely how neither employees nor patrons were able to detect the smell of the decaying body in the grocery store, which closed in 2016, or the impact the new medication had on the late man’s behavior.

READ: Neighbors Formed A Human Chain To Prevent This Man From Getting Deported And It’s The Most Beautiful Act Of Humanity I’ve Seen

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Congressman Steve King Of Iowa, Known For Racist Comments, Loses To Republican Challenger In Primary

Things That Matter

Congressman Steve King Of Iowa, Known For Racist Comments, Loses To Republican Challenger In Primary

Alex Wong / Getty Images

You might remember Representative Steve King of Iowa as the person who’s campaign attacked Parkland shooting survivor Emma González. The Republican politician is officially out of Congress after losing to Iowa State Senator Randy Feenstra.

Iowa Senator Randy Feenstra defeated Representative Steve King in the Republican primary in Iowa.

Sen. Feenstra defeated Rep. King by 9.7 points ending the incumbent’s career after 18 years. Rep. King will still be a member of Congress during the remainder of the election as Republican Sen. Feenstra goes against Democrat J.D. Scholten. Scholten almost defeated Rep. King in 2018.

Rep. King’s controversial and offensive attitude led to his colleagues stripping him of his committee roles.

Rep. King was shunned by the Republican Party in 2019. The Congressman asked in an interview with The New York Times, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

The language was enough to draw harsh criticism from members of his party. He was stripped of all of his committee assignments because of the comments.

Rep. King has a long history of racist comments.

In 2016, Rep. King was on tv when he asked if nonwhite groups have contributed to society. The comments were met with instant criticism from people denouncing the racist comments.

“This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie,” Rep. King said on a panel. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

People are happy to see Rep. King lose his primary race.

There has been a movement to change politicians. It was clear in the 2018 elections that Americans wanted different representation when Democrats flipped enough seats in the House of Representatives to hold a majority over the Republicans. Rep. King is the latest in controversial Republican politicians to be voted out by upset constituents.

READ: AOC Called Out Rep. Steve King For Willfully Risking Pink Eye Instead Of Admitting Migrants Deserve Better Treatment

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Hate Crime Filed Against Iowa Woman Who Ran Over Latina Girl On Her Way To Middle School

Things That Matter

Hate Crime Filed Against Iowa Woman Who Ran Over Latina Girl On Her Way To Middle School

Clive Police Department

She doesn’t remember the impact, thankfully. The 14-year-old victim doesn’t remember a lot about that fateful night in which a white woman violently ran her over with her car. She does remember the moment right before, in which a car was coming toward her, the next thing she can recall is waking up in pain, laying in the snow wondering what happened. What happened to her was an attack on her just because of her heritage and existence. 

Police have charged Nicole Marie Poole Franklin, a 42-year-old Iowa woman, on multiple counts related to crimes she allegedly committed on Dec. 9. One of those crimes was against a Latina teen. 

Credit: @MenendezRand / Twitter

Police report that Franklin will be tried on multiple charges that stem from horrific crimes, all of which occurred on the same day. The one crime she has confessed to is running over a 14-year-old Latina who was walking to school on her way to an event there. 

On Dec. 20, the Clive Police Department in Iowa reported that the “vehicle left the roadway and ran the girl over. She suffered numerous injuries. The driver and vehicle left the scene without rendering aid to the girl. Earlier, the Clive Police Department requested the public’s help in locating the driver. At that time, it appeared to be a hit and run accident.” 

When police finally identified the driver, the alleged assailant told police she ran her over because “she looked Mexican.” 

Credit: @incendiarynews / Twitter

“During the interview, Franklin not only admitted to being the driver of the car that struck this girl but also that she had done so intentionally,” the police stated. “Franklin told investigators that she ran the girl over because she was, in her words, ‘a Mexican.’ She went on to make a number of derogatory statements about Latinos to the investigators.”

Franklin was charged with attempted murder in that case, along with “assault, theft, consumption, intoxication, and possession of illegal substances,” NBC News reports

Police report that the woman also allegedly ran over a 12-year-old black boy on the same day.

Credit: @ArtDalvik / Twitter

On Monday, police added charges to Franklin related to a hit-and-run of a boy who was left with minor injuries. She was also charged with attempted murder in that case as well. 

The Washinton Post reports that “Franklin struck the 12-year-old boy with an SUV as he walked on a sidewalk within the apartment complex where Franklin lives. Witnesses said the car accelerated as Franklin jumped the curb and hit the child’s leg, then fled the scene, according to police and an incident report.”

Sgt. Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department told the Post that there’s a surveillance video of Franklin hitting the boy and not stopping. 

“She doesn’t even hit the brake,” Parizek told The Post. “Lot of times with a hit-and-run crash, the first thing the person does is stop — like ‘oh, my God, what did I do.’… This one, none of that.”

He also added that the crime against the black boy is possibly motivated by hate as well. Officials also say that the first crime Franklin allegedly committed that day was when she stopped at a convenience store. The Des Moines Register reports that Franklin “threw items at a clerk and directed racial epithets at him and customers.” 

On Christmas Eve, Franklin was finally charged with a hate crime even though initially the District Attorney said that she already had two attempted murder charges against her, and those charges could lead to a longer prison sentence than if they added hate crime to her offenses.

Credit: Clive Police Department / Facebook

Just a few days ago, Polk County Attorney John Sarcone told the Des Moines Register that adding a hate crime charge “wouldn’t necessarily achieve the justice the community is demanding.”

“I can’t specifically talk about her case,” Sarcone told the paper. “All I can say is attempted murder is a Class B felony. That’s a 25-year sentence — 17 1/2 are mandatory. It’s five times any sentence you would get on a hate crime.”

He added, “It may sound nice, but it doesn’t help anything. When it’s appropriate to enhance, we’ll do it.”

Thanks to the demands of advocates of the victims, those new charges will be added to the slew of crimes against Franklin. Advocates said that it was crucial to include the hate crime charges because if they didn’t it would send the wrong message to future assailants. 

Credit: @domingotexas / Twitter

Joe Henry, president of the Des Moines branch of the League of United Latin American Citizens, told the Washinton Post that not charging Franklin with a hate crime “would give the green light to anybody to do this type of terrible thing.”

Click here to sign a petition that demands justice for the Latina victim. 

READ: Community In Michoacan Rallies Around Homeless Man Whose Dog Was Killed By A Hit And Run Driver

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