After being reported missing by her son, the body of 62-year-old North Carolina woman was discovered later that day by police inside her impounded car that had been towed away from a crash site three days before.
The 2000 Pontiac that contained Carolyn Ann Watkins's body had been recovered by police last Friday morning in a ditch 30 miles southeast of Raleigh. An accident report filed by Highway Patrol Trooper Marlon Williams noted that "no driver at the scene of this collision."
The Pontiac was towed to a local lot for storage with Watkins' body still inside, apparently shielded from view by the car's deployed airbags, according to local ABC affiliate WTVD
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After Watkins failed to show up to work Monday morning, her son, Al Parker, reported his mother missing. Police launched an investigation which led to an officer discovering Watkins' body in her car inside the impound lot later that day.
"I'm thinking she could still have been alive," Parker said Tuesday. "How do you not look in the car? When you pulled the car out, how do you not see a body in the car?"
"Maybe she could still have been alive, but she sat in that impound lot from Friday to Monday," Watkins' other son Cavin Wooten told WTVD. "It's sickening and it hurts."
Watkins' family said the grandmother of four was in good health and couldn't understand how she could ended up crashing into a ditch along the side of a road.
According to police, marijuana was found in her purse at the impound lot, though it wasn't clear whether that played any role in the accident.
"This is a multi-jurisdictional investigation and has the full attention of the Department of Public Safety administration. We will release accurate information to the public as soon as available and appropriate," DPS Commissioner Frank Perry said in a statement on Tuesday.
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"At this early stage, our main concern is to conduct a thorough and professional investigation so we can determine exactly what happened. In addition, DPS is expeditiously conducting its internal review with the [State Bureau of Investigation]," Perry added.
Trooper Williams, a 9-year veteran of the Highway Patrol, has been placed on paid administrative duty pending the outcome of an internal review, WTVD reported.
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