Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

‘Smelled Like Death': Decomposing Body Found Inside Column of Winco Store Identified

The coroner's office Tuesday released the name of a man whose decomposing body was found stuck inside a brick pillar at a Lancaster supermarket.

The body of Raymundo Rivera, 35, was found about 2:40 p.m. Saturday inside a pillar at Winco Foods, according to the Los Angeles county coroner's office and sheriff's department.

On Saturday afternoon, the manager of the store on the 700 block of West Avenue K reported a strong smell from the column. He called a repairman thinking it was some type of sewer leak.

A handyman and plumber began removing bricks and soon afterward, they noticed a shoe and leg inside the grocery store column.

The body was in a state of decomposition and the person's gender was unknown at the time, according to Lt. John Corina with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"I saw some gooey liquid and it smelled really foul ... it was oozing out of the pillar onto the pavement," one witness said. "It smelled like death."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is leading the death investigation. They believe it may be the body of a suspect who escaped from a traffic stop on Monday night.

The driver was pulled over for a fake license plate, crashed the car, escaped onto the Winco roof and then disappeared.

"He may have gotten inside there and gotten down to try and hide from the deputies and then couldn't get out," Corina said.

There is an access door on top of the roof and the suspect may have fallen or got stuck and was found five days later, according to the sheriff's department.

It's "one of those strange cases," Corina added.

An autopsy was pending. 

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