Teen’s body sat inside stolen vehicle towed from accident scene for days in city lot

The tragic passing of a 17-year-old Milwaukee youth has shed light on the city’s procedures and practices for towing vehicles. The death was discovered on Monday morning by Milwaukee police officers at the city-owned lot where the boy’s SUV had been towed four days prior to the incident.

An investigation on the cause of death is being conducted by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Police Department and Milwaukee Department of Public Works are jointly examining the situations that could have led to the body not being identified before the vehicle was removed from the scene.

The SUV in question was mangled from striking a tree, and the 16-year-old driver was taken into custody for treatment after Authorities identified the vehicle as stolen. Recent years have brought three events of people being trapped in autos that were later transferred to a city lot.

In January 2018, an 8-year-old was stranded overnight in a van after her mother was arrested by local police. The family took the matter to court and was paid $50,000 in settlement last year. The following year, the Fire Chief of Milwaukee accepted responsibility for his department’s missed chance at finding an individual’s body in another wrecked vehicle that had been towed.

The Milwaukee Police Department and its Department of Public Works are actively investing the circumstances that caused this tragedy.