Choosing Walmart as a last destination
Suicide is a horrible subject. A mixture of sadness, confusion, and fear swim through my brain whenever I hear that someone has died that way. Although one side of my brain understands it, the other does not. Back in the late 90’s it was my duty to collect the coroner’s report in San Diego, and go over it looking for stats and causes of deaths. I noticed there was a large number of seniors that would show up on the reports and I would think to myself that of all ages, that seniors would be less likely to commit suicide. It bugged me so much, I had to ask, and a co-worker explained to me the reason that older people take their lives is likely because they are suffering from a disease or pain they can not endure anymore. Also, some seniors outlive their loved ones and are alone and no longer want to continue living. It made sense, but didn’t make it anymore less confusing for me, but I am wise enough to realize is only because I have not been in that position to understand it.
In 2010 worldwide deaths from suicide outnumbered deaths from war (17,670), natural disasters (196,018), and murder (456,268).
INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION, GLOBAL BURDEN OF DISEASE 2010
Reporting on missing people, I am still exposed to suicides. Sadly, a lot of missing people are missing because they have committed suicide and they have not been found yet.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, but the third leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24 and the second leading cause for people ages 25 to 34.
About this time last year I noticed there was a couple of stories about two people who were found deceased in a Walmart parking lot. One in particular had been deceased in her car for several months before anyone noticed she was deceased. When the story came out, everyone began to ask how could a car sit in a Walmart parking lot all that time and no one notice it. I was curious as to whether choosing Walmart as a last destination was a common thing. I gathered any cases I found where people had died in Walmart parking lots and made a list. Just like I couldn’t understand why seniors were committing suicide, I couldn’t understand why so many people were winding up dead at Walmart parking lots.
“Every year since 1999, more Americans have killed themselves than the year before, making suicide the nation’s greatest untamed cause of death,” Tony Dokpoupil. Why Suicide has become an Epidemic
Then on Monday, I saw another story of a missing person had been found deceased in a Walmart parking lot and wanted to see if there had been anymore cases since the last time I looked at this subject. I have found a few more, and decided to put them all on one post. Please note, these cases are not only of people who were reported missing first. I vacillated with that decision for a bit, but then decided that since I could not find information to verify if they were reported missing or not before hand, I would put them on the list, anyway. They may not have been reported missing, but likely missed before they were found.
Please note that “no foul play or no foul play suspected, or death not suspicious,” is the way the police or media say that someone committed suicide or an accidental death, like an overdose.
People found deceased at Walmart parking lots
On Feb 3, 2017 Kaniesh Armster was found dead in her car about 11:30 p.m. in the Walmart parking lot at 6065 Gull Road in Kalamazoo Township, Mich. No Foul Play suspected.
Jan. 3, 2017, a missing man was found deceased in his truck at a Walmart parking lot located in Washington, Utah. He was identified as James Garlick, 40, of Mona. St. George News reports that his sister Carol Bullard of Washington confirmed to St. George News that Garlick was the man found in the truck.
Dec. 24, 2016, a 24-year-old man was found dead in his car in an apparent suicide in the parking lot of Walmart off Leavitt Road, in Lorain, Ohio, said Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans.
Dec. 12, 2016, Grant Kleman, 18, a missing Texas Tech student was found inside his vehicle at a Walmart parking lot located at the 4200 block of South Loop 289, reports Lubbock Online. No foul play.
Nov. 3, 2016, West Melbourne police identified a decomposed body found in a Dodge Caravan parking at the Walmart on Palm Bay Road in Florida as Jyll Elaine Shelties, 53. She may have been in her car for several weeks, reports Florida Today. She had not been reported missing, but was homeless. Her body was turned over to the Brevard County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.
On Oct. 7, 2016, an unnamed deceased woman was found by an employee shortly before noon at the Wal-Mart at 5475 N. Meridian, Wichita, Kansas in her car. She had been missing since September.
On Oct. 6, 2016 Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd told Region 8 News the body of Erin M. Dowdy, 21, was found in her car in the parking lot of the Walmart on Parker Road in Jonesboro, Ark. Sheriff Boyd says cans of hairspray were found in the vehicle along with the body. Relatives said they hadn’t seen her since Oct. 3.
On Sept. 9, 2016, Cindy Bland was reported missing by her father on Aug. 28. He told police they got into a fight on Aug. 23 and the next morning she went to a dentist appointment. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office tolds Action News Jax that it appears the SUV had been parked in the parking lot for approximately two weeks before she was found deceased. No foul play suspected.
On Sept. 2, 2016, missing Jerry Gonzaba, 63, was found dead in the trunk of a Mercedes in the parking lot of a Walmart store in the 8500 block of Poteet Jourdanton Freeway near I-35 in San Antonio at about 1 a.m. This case is being investigated as a murder.
On June 23, 2016, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department reported a body was found inside a parked car at the Red Bank Walmart on South Lake Drive. The body was later identified as Keith Walter Lindler, 53. No foul play. No word if he was reported missing.
On April 11, 2016, surveillance video showed Kara Lee Williams, 23, get into a truck owned by her boyfriend’s father in the parking lot of the Walmart off Highway 146 near I-10 in Mont Belvieu, but didn’t drive away, according to KHOU. She was reported missing and was found still in the truck at that same Walmart, naked from the waist down. Police said there was no foul play, reports Click 2 Houston.
On April 3, 2016 a man’s body was found inside a truck at the Walmart on Odum Road in Glardendale, Alabama. He was later identified as Shawn Haight, 51 from Wisconsin. He was reported missing by his employer. No trauma to the body. I have read no foul play to foul play.
On April 5, 2016, Jacob King, 24, was found dead inside his vehicle in the same parking lot of the Walmart on Odum Road in Glardendale, Alabama. No foul play.
On April 7, 2016, a 33-year-old man who has not been identified was found dead in his car in the Walmart parking lot in Fruitland, Maryland. Initial reports stated the death was not suspicious.
On Feb. 11, 2016, Lauren Moss was found deceased in her car at a Salinas, California Walmart. She was reportedly been deceased in the car since November 2015. She had left a suicide note and a needle was found in the car.
From here on there is a wide gap on any reported deceased persons at Walmart parking lots. This could be either the story has been archived or simple obvious suicides were just not reported to the public.
On July 23, 2015, a woman’s body that was found in a Walmart at 14507 Plan Road in Baker, Louisiana. Police determined the the woman had recently been reported missing from Baton Rouge. has been linked to a recent missing person’s report, Baker Police Chief Mike Knaps said.
On April 18, 2015, the Hillsborough County sheriff’s office said Lucy Moore, 31, was found deceased in her car at a Walmart located at 8220 N. Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, Florida. She had been reported missing and was an employee at Tampa General Hospital. No foul play is suspected.
On June 6, 2014, Shannon McClellan, 37, of Rising Sun, Maryland, was reported missing. Three weeks later her body was found inside her car parked at the Elton Walmart in Delaware. Surveillance video show the car pulling into the lot on May 29, and a woman getting out of the driver’s side and getting into the back seat, she never appeared again. No foul play.
I know there is a lot of people who go into the wilderness to commit suicide, probably a heck of a lot more than people choosing Walmart, but it makes me wonder why Walmart. Maybe the thought of going to the middle of nowhere and being completely alone is more loneliness than they can handle. The sound of distance voices and unmet glances, by preoccupied Walmart customers seem to be a more comfortable place to be before the end. Where many choose nature and it’s spiritual like setting to be their last sounds and sights, there are some that prefer the ordinary, the day-to-day to surround them, and Walmart represents that. Maybe for them escaping from themselves is easier with the bustling of people around them than to be alone in a forest with their thoughts. They need no more catalyst to set out to do what they intended.