'This is a big mess:' Defense attorney calls into question MPD after body left in van

Memphis Police Department is still trying to determine how a body went undetected for seven weeks inside a van at one of its impound lots.
We're now learning about the potential wide-ranging ramifications across the city's criminal justice system from the error.

MPD identified 33-year-old Bardomiano Perez Hernandez as the person found in that van, and as questions linger, one defense attorney said MPD's oversight could have lasting consequences.

"This does call into question every crime scene that MPD investigated. If you miss a body, what else do you miss?" Claiborne Ferguson, criminal defense attorney, asked. "This is a big miss."

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Surveillance video shows a group of robbers holding up the van on Yale Road on Dec. 18. The driver was shot, and the passenger wasn't injured but all the suspects got away.

Police said the two victims indicated they were the only ones in the van, but when they came forward to reclaim the van earlier this week, that's when a third man's decomposing body was found in the back.

"It's sloppy work. It is the worst of sloppy work you can get, and so everybody involved in it is now going to have that to deal with every time they testify at trial," Ferguson said.

He added this incident will have impacts for MPD in the courtroom as defense attorneys in unrelated cases will likely point to it as proof that the agency can make big mistakes in processing crime scenes.

"Corners were cut, skipped over procedure, just didn't do their job right," Ferguson said.

He also said the slip-up could undermine the public's trust.

"It creates lasting doubt as to the agency, but it also affects the community as to the police's ability to conduct proper investigations," Ferguson said.

Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings' media relations staff wouldn't comment on this incident to WMC Action News 5's Kendall Downing.

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