Severed Head Found at Truck Stop

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Authorities in Michigan have arrested truck driver Anthony Harris, 60, in connection with the discovery of 57-year-old Melody Gooch’s headless body near a Mitchell, South Dakota, I90 travel center.

Late on Monday, March 11, 2024, a truck driver came across a hand and a foot protruding from a pile of pallets behind the travel center and immediately contacted the police.

South Dakota Law Enforcement officials arrived on the scene, finding a body buried underneath the stack of pallets. A responding officer assessed that the deceased appeared to have been hit by a vehicle, noting injuries suggestive of the body being dragged from the point of initial contact, as stated in the official records. The victim was decapitated and missing a section of her spinal column.

Further investigation at the location where the body was found uncovered a head and a bloody shoe contained within a bag in a dumpster at the travel stop premises, according to the documents.

“The discovery led to the identification of the remains as those of Melody Gooch from Detroit,” stated South Dakota’s Attorney General Marty Jackley.

Officials examined multiple surveillance recordings in the vicinity, which purportedly captured a white semi-truck’s “questionable” maneuvers around the areas where the remains were discovered, the documents disclose.

Footage appeared to show the semi-truck reversing numerous times over the location where the body was eventually located and depicted the driver handling an object in that vicinity before heading to the dumpster for a brief stop, as per police statements. The semi refrained from refueling or making any other stops before rejoining the interstate.

According to police documents, upon his apprehension in Yakima, Washington, on March 14, Harris was found driving the semi-truck implicated in the surveillance footage. The suspect is charged with second-degree murder and illegal disposal of a body.

Interviews with the victim’s family revealed she was last seen with Harris, who, when questioned, denied knowing her whereabouts. However, Harris’ work log hours and cell phone records placed him at the crime scenes, aligning with the truck’s activities in the surveillance footage.

The investigation, led by Mitchell police and the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), benefited significantly from the collaboration across various agencies. “The success of this case is attributed to the cooperative effort of multiple agencies,” commented Mitchell’s Police Chief Michael Koster.

There was no immediate information regarding whether Harris has pleaded to the charges or if he has legal representation.

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