KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Family members and a forensic expert wonder why Kansas City police didn’t find a man’s body in the trunk of his SUV until they towed him to a Missouri police station earlier this month.
The death of Adam “AJ” Blackstock Jr. is being investigated as a homicide, according to The Kansas City Star.
The newspaper reported that police defended their initially handling of the situation because they did not have a search warrant when they had the vehicle towed on Jan. 17 and Blackstock had yet to be reported officially missing.
A forensic expert told the paper that police should have looked inside the vehicle before moving it.
“The idea of taking a vehicle into custody without searching inside a vehicle or opening the trunk is just negligence,” said Brent Turvey, a forensic scientist and criminologist at the Forensic Criminology Institute in Sitka, Alaska.
Family members said they wanted answers about what happened to Blackstock, 24, who left behind an 18-month-old son.
“We are really calling for justice,” Danielle Blackstock, his older sister, told the newspaper. “We can’t get it back. But we need justice.”
The newspaper quoted Kansas City Police Department spokesman, Sgt. Jake Becchina said last week that detectives were making progress identifying those interested in the case, but charges had yet to be filed.
Adam Blackstock Sr. said he called the 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, Oak Park Southwest neighborhood. The SUV was covered in a gray tarp.
When officers arrived, the homeowner said the vehicle belonged to her uncle and provided the phone number of a man who she said was hers.
Blackstock Sr. convinced police otherwise, in part by using a remote starter to turn the vehicle on. Officers convinced the woman at 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 only saw the lifeless body in the back after towing the SUV.
Becchina said officers showed “very creative thinking to get the homeowner to allow the vehicle to be towed based on consent at the time, when there was no other legal standing to enter the property, much less process the ‘car on the property.”