Family members and a forensic expert are questioning why Kansas City police didn't find a man's body in the cargo area of his own SUV until after they towed it to a Missouri police station earlier this month.
Adam “A.J.” Blackstock Jr.'s death is being investigated as a homicide, according to The Kansas City Star.
The newspaper reported that police defended how they initially handled the situation because they didn't have a search warrant when they had the vehicle towed on Jan. 17 and Blackstock had yet to be officially reported missing.
One forensic expert told the newspaper that police should have looked inside the vehicle before they moved it.
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“The idea of taking a vehicle into custody without searching inside a vehicle or opening the trunk is just negligent,” said Brent Turvey, a forensic scientist and criminologist with the Forensic Criminology Institute in Sitka, Alaska.
Family members said they want answers about what happened to Blackstock, 24, who left behind an 18-month-old son.
“We really are asking for justice," Danielle Blackstock, his older sister, told the newspaper. "We can’t have him back. But we need justice.”
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The paper quoted Kansas City Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jake Becchina as saying last week that detectives were making headway toward identifying persons of interest in the case, but charges had yet to be filed.
Adam Blackstock Sr. said he called police after being unable to reach his son when the family returned from a trip to Disneyland. He used GPS to locate what he believed was his son's vehicle in a driveway in the Kansas City, Missouri, neighborhood of Oak Park Southwest. The SUV was covered by a gray tarp.
When officers arrived, the homeowner said the vehicle belonged to her uncle and provided the phone number of a man who said it was his.
Blackstock Sr. convinced police otherwise, in part by using a remote starter to turn on the vehicle. Officers persuaded the woman at the home to let them remove it. They noticed what appeared to be a bullet hole in the driver's seat and blood on the floorboards, but didn't immediately investigate further.
They saw the lifeless body in the back only after towing the SUV.
Becchina said that the officers showed “very creative thinking to talk the homeowner into allowing the vehicle to be towed based on consent at that time, when there was no other legal standing to enter onto the property, much less process the car on the property.”