Bloody Truck Found at Johnston County Car Lot
Posted January 23, 2008 5:51 p.m. EST
Updated January 23, 2008 8:09 p.m. EST
Smithfield, N.C. — Authorities are trying to determine if a truck found on a Johnston County car lot is connected to a missing-person case.
Barry McConnell discovered a black GMC Denali when he arrived at his car lot near the intersection of Interstate 40 and N.C. Highway 210 Tuesday morning. The truck had a window broken out, and its interior was covered with blood.
“When I got close to the vehicle, I noticed blood in the cab on the passenger's side,” said McConnell of Ron's Custom Cars. "I immediately called 911.”
The truck belongs to Martin Garza, 43, from Wilmington, authorities said. He was last seen Monday at a Wal-Mart in the Wallace community in Duplin County.
Giving the truck's condition, investigators are looking into the possibility that Garza was murdered.
Surveillance video from the car lot shows two men getting out of the truck and leaving in another vehicle. With the car lot located off a major interstate, McConnell said he figures the men who dropped off the vehicle could have come from anywhere.
“If my video is correct, it was 9:41 in the evening," he said. "One got out of the driver's side and the other one out of the passenger side."
McConnell also said a bullet casing was found inside the truck.
Investigators from Duplin and Johnston counties, Wilmington and the State Bureau of Investigation are looking into the case.
Anyone with information that could help authorities is asked to call the Johnston County Sheriff's Office at 919-989-5010.