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Woman dies in car outside Taco Bell in Springfield

body was bloody

Springfield police investigate the suspicious death

August 08, 2011|by Linda Russell, KY3 News | lrussell@ky3.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- City police closed a Taco Bell restaurant on West Bypass at Chestnut Expressway on Monday morning after a woman was found dead behind the wheel of a car in its driveway.  Officers received the 911 call at 7:02 a.m. and found the victim in a maroon Hyundai Elantra. 

It appears the driver pulled into the parking lot off Chestnut and came to a stop in the middle of the driveway.  A reporter could see blood on the body's shoulder.  There was no visible damage to the outside of the car. 

Detectives are investigating the death as suspicious, but would not release any details on the woman's injuries.  She was not a Taco Bell employee.  Her name is being withheld until family is contacted.  Taco Bell closed at about 4 a.m. and was not due to open until 10 a.m.

Police questioned witnesses and workers and searched the bushes and grass for any evidence in the area. Police said there was no immediate threat to public safety.

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Witnesses at a motel across the street told a reporter that someone in the area saw the car come from the west at about 5 a.m., weave and honk, then drive to the Taco Bell lot.   They also saw another person exit the passenger side of the car and walk away.

Darrell Matthews lives just across the street and saw the car before police were called.  "I seen the car sitting over there in the drive, and I just thought it had drowned out from the rain.  It was sitting there with it's lights on, and then later people were going around it, and some lady stopped in a SUV and then the cops came," says Matthews.

"I would hate to think I was in that situation and nobody even cared enough to stop and check on me," says neighbor Brenda Tatar.  "Whoever did this had no right to take her away from her family.  They just didn't have the right to do that, and my heart goes out to the family," Tatar says.

Police are checking surveillance video at businesses in the area.  Springfield Police say an autopsy is being performed Monday afternoon.

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Maria Neider, KY3 News, contributed to this report.

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