KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man whose body authorities believe is the one found in a crate encased in concrete in a dumpster might have been missing for months before the group home where he lived reported that he was gone, a sheriff said Wednesday.
A body that likely will be identified as Carl DeBrodie, 31, was found Monday in the dumpster in a storage unit in Fulton, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of St. Louis. A positive identification has not been made but Fulton Police Chief Steve Myers said Wednesday he is "95 percent" certain the body is DeBrodie's. A cause of death has not been determined.
DeBrodie, who had lived in a home for the developmentally disabled for nine years, was reported missing April 17. At the time, the residential home housing four or five residents was operated by a private contractor called The Second Chance but ownership was transferred recently to Finck & Associates.
The former director for The Second Chance reported DeBrodie missing but it is unclear how long he was gone and it's possible he was missing for months, Myers said.
"We have several different people we are talking to about that," Myers said. "We're getting conflicting information and are trying to establish some sort of timeline."
Rudy Veit, an attorney for the DeBrodie family, said DeBrodie's mother used to meet him at restaurants or parks but Second Chance officials stopped those meetings a year or two ago, telling her they caused her son to become anxious and were not in his best interests. The mother, who was not her son's legal guardian, was not aware of her legal rights and assumed the home had the authority to prevent the visits, he said.
A woman who was once DeBrodie's legal guardian and cared for him from age 11 to 21 reported to authorities that she believed DeBrodie was being abused at the home but did not get any response, Veit said. Her visits with him also were stopped.
A phone number for The Second Chance in Fulton was disconnected on Wednesday.
"Finck & Associates were not involved in DeBrodie's care at the time he went missing and have been extremely cooperative with our investigation," Fulton police said in a news release.
Law enforcement and private individuals conducted several searches for DeBrodie before the body was found inside the storage unit after investigators received a tip, Myers said. No further searches for DeBrodie are planned in Fulton and volunteers were planning a memorial service for next week.
The family appreciated the many people who helped search for DeBrodie and had hope until Monday that he would be found, Veit said.
"To find out they were all misled, and now to have the agony, anger, and fear of what he went through in the time period he was gone and who would do this, it's very difficult," Veit said.
Police were to meet with DeBrodie's mother Wednesday to obtain DNA, Myers said. The body was badly decomposed and police had not found dental records, so DNA will be needed to confirm the identity.
Investigators have pursued over 150 leads and are interviewing several people of interest, Myers said.
"At some point we're going to bring this to a conclusion, but we need a cause of death first," said Myers.
On Tuesday, a cousin, Rebecca Bell, told The Columbia Daily Tribune that DeBrodie had mental disabilities, difficulty communicating and was legally blind.
Bell said it's likely DeBrodie was dead for a long time because the body was so decomposed the family won't be able to have an open casket funeral.
DeBrodie belonged to a "good, loving family that would've done anything for him," Bell said. "He was a very sweet, caring young man, and all he wanted was to be loved and cared about."