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Truck Driver Finds Decapitated Body of Woman

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Anthony Harris, a 60-year-old truck driver from Michigan, has been apprehended by officials in connection to the gruesome discovery of the decapitated body of 57-year-old Melody Gooch near an I-90 travel center in Mitchell, South Dakota.

On the late evening of March 11, 2024, another truck driver chanced upon a human hand and foot sticking out from a pile of pallets at the back of the travel center. The police were promptly alerted.

Upon arriving at the scene, South Dakota law enforcement officers discovered a body buried under the pallets. The initial assessment by the responding officer indicated that the victim appeared to have been struck by a vehicle, with injuries suggesting that the body had been dragged from the initial point of contact, according to the official reports. The victim had been beheaded and a portion of her spinal column was missing.

Further probing at the scene led to the discovery of a head and a blood-stained shoe, both contained within a bag found in a dumpster on the travel stop’s grounds, as per the documents.

“The remains were identified as those of Melody Gooch from Detroit,” confirmed South Dakota’s Attorney General Marty Jackley.

Authorities reviewed multiple surveillance footage from the vicinity. The footage seemingly captured a white semi-truck making suspicious movements in the areas where the remains were found, as revealed by the documents.

The footage showed the truck reversing over the location where the body was subsequently found multiple times. It also showed the driver handling an unidentified object near that location before making a quick visit to the dumpster. The truck did not stop to refuel or make any other stops before re-entering the highway, as per the police statements.

Harris was taken into custody in Yakima, Washington, on March 14, where he was found driving the semi-truck implicated in the surveillance footage, according to police documents. He has been charged with second-degree murder and illegal disposal of a body.

Interviews with Gooch’s family revealed that she was last seen with Harris. Despite Harris denying knowledge of her whereabouts when questioned, his work log hours and mobile phone records place him at the crime scenes, aligning with the truck’s movements in the surveillance footage.

The investigation was a collaborative effort led by Mitchell police and the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), with significant contributions from various agencies. “The success of this case is attributed to the cooperative effort of multiple agencies,” said Mitchell’s Police Chief Michael Koster.

As of now, there has been no information on whether Harris has entered a plea to the charges or secured legal representation.

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