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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Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges After Running Over Latino and Black Children With Her Car

Things That Matter

Iowa Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges After Running Over Latino and Black Children With Her Car

Photo: Polk County Jail via Associated Press

On Wednesday, an Iowa woman pled guilty to federal hate crime charges. The woman, 43-year-old Nicole Poole Franklin, intentionally hit a 12-year-old Black boy and a 14-year-old Latina with her car in 2019. The charges include two counts of violating the U.S Hate Crime Act, as Poole Franklin intended to kill the victims because of their ethnicity.

Nicole Poole Franklin admitted to authorities that she targeted the girl because she thought she looked “Mexican”. She thought the boy was an Islamic terrorist.

As part of her defense, Poole Franklin is claiming that she suffers from schizophrenia and PTSD. Since her arrest, she admitted to police officers that she smoked meth before going on her hate-filled rampage.

The incident, which happened in December of 2019, struck fear into the hearts of communities of color in Des Moines, Iowa, where the hate crimes took place. “Anytime things happen to any minority, people are concerned about what happened,” said Joe Gonzalez, the executive director of Latino Resources Inc. in Iowa. “It was a horrific thing and people were concerned — especially people of color.”

When Nicole Poole Franklin ran over the children, she injured the boy’s leg. The girl, Natalia Miranda, was knocked unconscious and hospitalized for two days.

Natalia Miranda was walking to junior high school on December 9, 2019, when Poole Franklin ran her down on the side walk. Miranda was unconscious for 40 minutes before she woke up and walked to school, where she alerted the authorities.

Natalia Miranda says she remembers the car speeding towards her, but she doesn’t remember being hit. “I was in the hospital and I tried moving, and I couldn’t get out of my bed,” the 14-year-old told KCCI. “Sitting up was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”

As of now, prosecutors are recommending that Nicole Poole Franklin serve 27 years behind bars.

Poole Franklin is also looking at two charges of attempted murder–both of which could carry up to 25 years each. Prosecutors are recommending that she serves all of the jailtime–state and federal–at the same time.

Here’s to hoping that the justice system does what is right and puts Nicole Poole Franklin behind bars for a long time–if only to save the lives of innocent children of color whose only crime is walking down the street.

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An Undocumented Mother In Iowa Is Sharing Her Story Through A Podcast

Culture

An Undocumented Mother In Iowa Is Sharing Her Story Through A Podcast

Laura Rodriguez is an undocumented mother living in Iowa and she is sharing her experience. Rodriguez is sharing her life using one of the most popular forms of media right now: the podcast. “Undocumented Momhood” gives people a chance to listen to what her life is like.

Laura Rodriguez is using her podcast “Undocumented Momhood” to create a space for women like her to find community.

Rodriguez has been wanting to create a podcast of her experience for a long time coming. The mother realized that she was always outnumbered when she went to mommy classes and couldn’t connect with anyone. That frustration led to her wanting to create something people could relate to.

“I was 22 years old when I had the kids and I had zero community around me,” Rodriguez recalls in an interview. “I often attended ‘mom groups’ to try to find my people and little friends for the twins but it never worked. Luca, Azul and I were always the only Latinx (people) in the whole group. Often you could see the class difference because they made it obvious for you to see and feel. After a few of these uncomfortable visits and many cries later I decided to just focus on being home with just the babies.”

Rodriguez’s husband created Amplified DSM and gave her a chance to reach an audience and fully tell her story. She has long been out as an undocumented woman and it was the 2016 elections that convinced her to come out as undocumented. Her biggest reason to come out was to lead her children by example.

“I always spoke to my children about the importance of being yourself and I wasn’t being my fully honest self,” Rodriguez says. “I had this heavy weight over my shoulders about my legal status that had follow me since I was 14 years old. I wanted to be free. I wanted everyone to know that this insane label that was put on us ‘illegal immigrants’  was wrong. I will always fight for my undocumented community they are my biggest inspirations.”

Rodriguez wanted to include her kids in the podcast.

“Azul, Luca, and I have this incredible connection so I wanted to honor them by recording our first episode together because, well, one because they are the ones that made me a mother and it made sense but also becoming Luca and Azul’s mother literally save my life,” Rodriguez says. “From the point on, they have been my teachers, my constant inspiration to keep fighting and to keep living. Plus they are so funny and smart I love my children. They are so fun to have conversations with.”

She wants her podcast to help break down the stereotypes of undocumented people.

“I want people to take away that undocumented people also have their own stories,” Rodriguez says. “[They have] their own struggles as a parent as humans. We are not only a label. Even though it seems everything we do to make a living and take care of our families is illegal, it only is because of our government.”

Rodriguez wants people to know that undocumented people are contributing to their communities. They are opening businesses, starting families, and living in a place that they want to make better themselves.

The podcasting mother says that the future episodes will dive deeper into the reality of living life as an undocumented person in the U.S.

“In the coming episodes, the conversations switch from a cute chat with my kids to the reality of immigration or real talks about motherhood,” Rodriguez says. “[For] example, women not liking being pregnant, not liking breastfeeding, or mothers not feeling that deep connection. “We are going to touch on so many of those taboo topics. I’m extremely grateful for everyone that has listened.”

You can listen to Rodriguez at Amplified DSM.

READ: Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Is Offering Up Free Mexican Homemeals For Undocumented Community

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