'Sloppy job:' MPD veteran says no excuse for man's body left in van

'Sloppy job:' MPD veteran says no excuse for man's body left in van

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A man's body laid undiscovered for weeks at a Memphis Police Department impound lot after a homicide.

The gruesome story is picking up traction nationally and prompting questions over MPD policy and what went wrong.

James Douglas, a retired MPD major, said officers did a whole lot of things wrong. He said it's tough to truly understand how this happened.

"I'm disappointed in the department, whoever dropped the ball," Douglas said.

Douglas said he is mad. He worked for the department for more than 28 years and even worked in the homicide division.

He said there's no excuse for what happened.

"A sloppy job, there's no way else to put that," Douglas said.

MPD said it had no idea a man's body was inside a van at the city's impound lot following a shooting and attempted robbery in Binghampton back in December.

The body stayed in the van until the van's owner got out of the hospital and tried to get his vehicle back. That was 49 days after the van was impounded.

A tip to WMC Action News 5 revealed a photo of the body inside the van. Out of respect for the man who died, WMC blurred the portion that shows his body.

"Seems inconceivable that you wouldn't look in the van to see if there is someone else in there," Douglas said.

Douglas explained what the policy was like for crime scenes when he worked for MPD.

He said patrolmen first arrive on the scene to secure the scene, then paramedics treat the people injured. After that, crime scene investigators take pictures and collect evidence before detectives take charge. Then before the tow truck arrives, he said a patrolman should have done an inventory on the van.

All in all, he said someone should have seen the man who was in the back of the van suffering from a gunshot wound. The unidentified man died, and his body was not discovered for seven weeks.

"They should take more pride in our jobs and try to do it better," Douglas said.

WMC5 reached out to MPD for its current policy on crime scene procedure. The department has not supplied us with a copy of that policy.

MPD Director Mike Rallings said he'll leave no stone unturned in this investigation.

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