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Sandy Police investigating suspicious death after body found in car trunk

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Posted at 3:58 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 19:16:19-04

A shocking discovery in Sandy has police trying to piece together how a man died — and how his body ended up in a car trunk for days.

The car itself drew some suspicion from people living in a nearby apartment complex, but no one could guess what was hidden inside.

On Riverside Drive next to River Oaks Golf Course and Legends at River Oaks Apartment Homes, Troy Showell said people park their cars along the road.

But the car he saw Monday night during an evening walk immediately grabbed his attention and stood out as unusual.

"The windshield was kind of smashed a little bit, like someone threw a rock at it or something," Showell said.

He also described how the black passenger car was beat-up looking. He could see a mysterious wet spot on the ground below the back door.

"I noticed there was no [license] plates and... flies were swarming the back of the trunk," he said. "And [I] kind of looked around, like, 'That's kind of odd.'"

Odd to see all the flies, but Showell couldn't smell anything off and said he's seen weird vehicles parked on that road before. So he figured he would see if it was still there Tuesday before calling police.

"I thought, 'Oh, someone probably stole the car and you know, left it there.' That’s what I thought," he said.

Another neighbor beat Showell to making that call Tuesday. Sandy City Police Sergeant Clay Swensen said they received a report around 11 a.m. of an abandoned vehicle with an odor coming from it.

When officers went to impound it, Sgt. Swensen said they found the body of a middle-aged man in the trunk. The officers then called in detectives to investigate. They're treating the death as suspicious.

Sandy Police reported Thursday that the body has been identified at 47-year-old Salt Lake City resident Derick Winston Fabert. The initial autopsy examination did not reveal any indication of foul play.

"At this point, we don't know if the male crawled back there on his own, if it was an accidental death, drug overdose, or if there was foul play," he said.

The exact cause of death is pending on a toxicology report.

"We didn’t determine any immediate cause of death," Sgt. Swensen said. "There was no trauma that would lead us to a cause of death at this point."

He continued that they don't know if Fabert was the vehicle's owner. He said the car is registered in Utah.

The man's body had been decomposing which made it difficult to determine when he died, but Sgt. Swensen believed the body has been in the trunk for at least a few days.

The person who made the report to police said the car had been parked on that street for a few days. However Showell said he didn't notice the car until Monday night. He said a different but similar looking black car had been parked in a different spot on the street, which Showell also noticed was strange.

That car also appeared to be abandoned, he said, with a missing license plate.

While police sort all of those details out, for Showell, it's freaky to think he noticed something unusual about the car. He could never have known just how unusual it was.

"It was strange," he said. "And I know that road is a dead end down that way. And kind of just-- I didn't think there'd be a dead body in there, but thought it was weird."