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.

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

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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. 

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A Latino Man Crashed Into A Freezing River In Iowa And Could Reach His Phone. That’s When He Called On Siri To Help

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A Latino Man Crashed Into A Freezing River In Iowa And Could Reach His Phone. That’s When He Called On Siri To Help

KIMT / YouTube

“Siri, call 911!” an Iowa teenager shouted as his Jeep started to sink in a freezing river. Gael Salcedo, 18, hit a patch of black ice while on his way to his college classes at North Iowa Area Community College. Given the option to collide with other drivers or to plummet into the freezing Winnebago river, Salcedo swerved toward the river. While Salcedo doesn’t remember what happened after that split-second decision, he does remember getting very, very clear once he was in the river. “I turned to the right and from there, everything just went blurry,” Salcedo told KIMT3 News. “I didn’t know where I was going and then I just didn’t know what to do,” he confessed to the outlet. We can’t even imagine what it would be like to go from a normal commute to being trapped in a sinking car in a freezing river. “I was just thinking in my head. I think I’m going to die,” Salcedo told the outlet. Then, adrenaline and action took over. Salcedo rolled down his windows, for fear that his Jeep would sink, and started searching for his phone to call 911. He couldn’t find it.

When Salcedo couldn’t find his phone, he resorted to the second-best option. “Hey Siri, call 911,” Salcedo asked. Siri aims to please and complied immediately. Shortly after he was on the line with local authorities, he found his phone.

Firefighters guided Salcedo on how to safely walk through the freezing river current to the river banks.

CREDIT: @LUIS_VAZQUEZ_C / TWITTER

Salcedo told KIMT3 News, “I lost my phone and since I couldn’t find it, I was like ‘Hey Siri, call 911.’  And once Siri called, that’s when I found my phone finally.” So while Siri may have allowed the Mason City firefighters to respond more quickly, the firefighters and Salcedo did all the heavy lifting from thereon. Mason City Fire Department Lieutenant Craig Warner waded toward the nearly submerged Jeep and assessed the situation. The current was so strong that Salcedo couldn’t open the driver’s side door, so they waded to the passenger side, and were able to free the door. “[I] basically explained to him that there’s no other way.  You’re going to have to walk out.  I’ll be right there with you holding on every step of the way,” Lt. Warner told Salcedo, according to KIMT3.

“My hands were freezing.  I couldn’t feel my legs anymore, so I was struggling a lot and the water was just so strong, so I kept tripping,” Salcedo told the outlet, crediting Lt. Warner for helping him up “a bunch of times.” This was no walk in the park. Freezing water can cause muscles to become stiff and weak at the minimum and cause hypothermia at worst. “I used all my strength to get out of the water,” he said.

Salcedo was brought to the hospital and treated for shock.

CREDIT: GAEL SALCEDO / FACEBOOK

Salcedo had been sitting in freezing water for enough time to warrant a hospital visit. Salcedo’s coordination and muscle stiffness was so bad, he had trouble walking even after he hit solid ground. With a first responder on each side, they were able to safely help Salcedo to the ambulance and help him get in. Salcedo was treated at MercyOne North Iowa hospital for shock. He was released just three hours later.

Salcedo originally hails from Weslaco, Texas, a place without any snow or ice. Today, he’s back to Twitter to shame President Trump for bullying 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. A few days before, he retweeted news that Brazil’s President Bolsonaro called Greta Thunberg a “brat” after she condemned rising violence against indigenous people living in the Amazon. You go, Gael Salcedo.

Share this story to anyone you love who loves to hate on technology.

CREDIT: @GAELSALCEDO2 / TWITTER

Back in 2011, Cult of Mac reported the first suggestion that Siri may save your life one day. At the time Siri was in her infancy and the concept still seemed fantastical to consumers. “Sure, Siri can act silly and it can find the perfect retailer, but it has some very practical and important uses as well,” the outlet pondered. Nearly a decade later, Gael Salcedo seems to be the first reported person to have relied on Siri to make an emergency call and was saved because of it.

“Thanks to technology he will have a happy Christmas,” one person tweeted in Spanish. Meanwhile, some trolls continue to discredit the usefulness of the technology. One troll commented, “probably staged – making some incentives for advertising.” Others are sharing the story with a simple statement: “Siri saves lives.”

Watch the full news report below!

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