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Family of man who died in Bluffs store: 'Everyone has questions'

Family of man who died in Bluffs store: 'Everyone has questions'

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The death of their son, a 25-year-old grocery worker, is beyond comprehension, so his parents are going public for answers.

How could someone die inside a grocery store and his body go undiscovered for years? Who were his co-workers? Did they see something? Hear something?

Smell something?

For these reasons and more, Victor and Anna Murillo have hired an attorney to help them search for answers in the death of their son, Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada, who died inside the No Frills Supermarket in Council Bluffs sometime after Thanksgiving in 2009.

The store closed in 2016, and his body was discovered in January 2019 as workers dismantled equipment inside the employee-only area of the unoccupied building.

“Everyone has questions,” Victor Murillo said Sunday through an interpreter at the office of their attorney, James Martin Davis.

Representatives of No Frills couldn’t be reached Sunday.

The parents say they had an intuition from the beginning that their son’s disappearance was related to the store where he worked. The last time they saw him was over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2009. He worked at No Frills on Thanksgiving night and came home the next morning disoriented. They took him to the doctor that day, and he was given medication that didn’t fully return him to normal.

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That was the last day they saw him. The next day, they filed a missing person’s report with the Council Bluffs Police Department. They enlisted friends and family in a search. But when it came to getting help from his co-workers and supervisors at No Frills, they say they came up empty-handed.

They roamed the aisles of the store looking for clues; they stopped and quizzed employees. They searched the exterior of the building.

But they were met mostly by silence.

Now that they know where their son died, they need former employees to help answer questions such as: What happened to their son? Did the store surveillance system show anything? Why wouldn’t anyone let them into the employee-only area?

“How is it that nothing was done at the time?” Anna Murillo asked, also through an interpreter.

The autopsy report said Murillo-Moncada’s death was accidental — there were no signs of foul play. His body was found in the 18-inch gap between a cooler and the wall. Employees often climbed on top of the cooler to store supplies there. Murillo-Moncada was a slight man, about 5-foot-6 and about 140 pounds.

Murillo-Moncada had been with the store for five years, the family said. Asked if he had friends at the store, his father paused before responding: “No one has come forward to give us information, so, no, I don’t believe he had any friends there.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Davis’s law office at 402-341-9900.

The Council Bluffs family is Honduran, and they are in the U.S. legally on work permits, they said.

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at Assumption-Guadalupe Catholic Church at 5438 S. 22nd St. in Omaha. The family has created a GoFundMe page to help with expenses.

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