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‘He was stuck there:’ Parents plead for answers after son’s body found behind grocery store cooler

Larry Murillo-Moncada

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. — Victor Murillo and Anna Moncada are haunted by doubt and fear they’ll never know the answers to the mystery of their son’s death unless Larry Murillo-Moncada’s former co-workers come forward with information.

For days, weeks, and years, Murillo and Moncada kept coming back to the now-abandoned No Frills store along West Broadway in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Instead of going in to shop for groceries, they would stay in the car, drive laps around the property, and try to ask questions of people they presumed knew their son.

Murillo-Moncada worked at the No Frills store for five years before he vanished in 2009. His mother remembered she never could check behind every door inside the building. James Martin Davis, the family’s attorney, said her mother’s intuition proved her right.

“Mom is the one that suspected at the time that maybe he was in the store,” Davis said.

On Sunday, Aug. 18, Davis and both parents issued a call to the community. They said they want to know exactly where contractors finally discovered Murillo-Moncada’s body, and the cause of his death.

“Did he starve to death? Was he asphyxiated? (Were) there gas fumes from the cooler?” Davis said.

Murillo said his family is ready to receive any call, text, or message, because they want someone to shed light on this case. Moncada said she can’t fathom how, back in 2009, no one inside the store noticed his son’s cries for help from behind a cooler, or when his body began to decompose.

“To think he was stuck behind there, crying out for someone to help him, and they never did, it’s hard. It’s difficult,” Moncada said in Spanish.

“There’s a hundred unanswered questions here that they want to get to the bottom of,” Davis said.

As Davis helps his clients file requests for records and photos from authorities in Council Bluffs, Murillo said his mission is to uncover the truth.

The Council Bluffs Police Department said they believe Murillo-Moncada’s death was an accident. Davis said the coroner who completed the autopsy agreed with investigators.

Davis said the Murillo family does not plan to file legal action yet. The family is asking for help to pay for their son’s funeral.

Relatives said they set up an account through Wells Fargo across the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area. Anyone who wishes to help is asked to stop by a bank branch and ask to donate to the Larry Murillo donation fund.

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