BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Battle Creek police say the woman who discovered a man’s body in the trunk of her impounded vehicle was the victim’s girlfriend.
Detective Sgt. Todd Elliott said the owner of the Toyota Camry was dating 43-year-old Diabulo White, who was last seen alive Friday night. She discovered his body in the vehicle’s trunk around 9:40 a.m. Monday when she was picking up the car at Tiger’s Towing, located at 111 S. Kendall Street.
“Well at this point, it is a homicide,” Elliott said. “It’s been determined that was the case.”
Police haven’t identified White’s girlfriend. They say she’s not a suspect in the case.
“We’ve talked to her,” Elliott said. “She was cooperative when we talked to her yesterday. We have no reason to believe she was involved in this death.”
Police say White’s mother reported him missing Saturday. Around 10 a.m. that day, a homeowner noticed the Toyota Camry parked on their property in the first block of Helen Montgomery Avenue and called the towing company, which in turn called police. However, officers didn’t search the vehicle because it was locked and hadn’t been tied to a crime yet.
“Our role is kind of limited on that,” explained Elliott. “We basically do a check on the vehicle, make sure it’s not stolen and do a visual inspection on it.”
Elliott said on Monday that White had been shot in the head at another location, then loaded into the trunk of the car. An autopsy is scheduled to determine how exactly he died.
A tip to Silent Observer led police to a 48-year-old Battle Creek man, who is a person of interest in the homicide. Officers found a handgun near where he was arrested and evidence at his home in the 100 block of Somerset Avenue, according to Elliott.
It’s unclear what sparked the shooting, but White had a long criminal history that included drug convictions.
Police also dismissed claims that White was somehow related to Joseph Bowser, who was found shot to death in Battle Creek in March.
There’s absolutely no connection between this homicide and Joe Bowser’s death,” said Elliott. “There’s (sic) rumors that the two were related. However, talking to the Bowser family, that’s not the case.”
Investigators are withholding the person of interest’s name until he’s formally charged in the case on Wednesday, Elliott said.