Decapitated Body Found by Truck Driver

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Michigan officials have detained 60-year-old truck driver Anthony Harris in relation to the gruesome discovery of 57-year-old Melody Gooch’s decapitated body found in the vicinity of an I-90 travel center in Mitchell, South Dakota.

A fellow truck driver stumbled upon a hand and a foot sticking out from a heap of pallets behind the travel center late on March 11, 2024 and subsequently alerted law enforcement.

Upon arriving at the scene, South Dakota law enforcement officers discovered a body buried beneath the pallet mound. An officer’s initial evaluation indicated that the deceased likely succumbed to a vehicular collision, with injuries suggesting the body was dragged from the point of impact, as recorded in official documents. The victim’s head was missing, along with a section of her spinal column.

Detailed examination of the area where the body was located led to the discovery of a head and a blood-stained shoe inside a bag in a dumpster on the travel stop premises, as per the official documents.

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

Officials scrutinized numerous surveillance videos around the area, which seemingly showed a white semi-truck making “suspicious” movements near the locations where the remains were found, as disclosed in the documents.

The footage depicted the semi-truck repeatedly backing over the area where the body was later found and showed the driver manipulating an object in that area before making a brief stop at the dumpster, as stated by police. Interestingly, the semi did not refuel or halt anywhere else before rejoining the interstate.

Harris was apprehended in Yakima, Washington, on March 14, driving the same semi-truck implicated in the surveillance videos, according to police records. He faces charges of second-degree murder and unlawful disposal of a body.

Conversations with Gooch’s family revealed her last known encounter was with Harris, who, when questioned, denied any knowledge of her whereabouts. However, Harris’ work log hours and mobile phone records placed him at the crime scenes, consistent with the truck’s activities in the surveillance footage.

The investigation, spearheaded by the Mitchell police and the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), significantly benefited from inter-agency cooperation. “The success of this case is attributed to the cooperative effort of multiple agencies,” said Mitchell’s Police Chief Michael Koster.

As of now, it remains unclear whether Harris has entered a plea to the charges or if he has secured legal representation.

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