Killeen police identified a body found Sunday in downtown Killeen as that of a Belton man who had been missing for nine days.
A neighbor discovered the body of Christopher Wayne Strickland, 31, in a wooded lot in the 200 block of Root Avenue and called police, Killeen Police Department spokeswoman Carroll Smith said.
Strickland’s family reported him missing on May 30; he was last seen May 24.
Smith said the severity of the body’s decomposition is making it hard for authorities to determine Strickland’s cause of death and whether his death was a homicide.
“When you have a decomposed body, a lot of times you don’t know the cause of death. It makes a case even harder for our detectives,” Smith said. Police were able to identify Strickland through identification found in his back pocket and later through his fingerprints, Smith said.
KPD is awaiting more information from the medical examiner’s office with the Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas, where an autopsy is being performed.
Ron Turner, who lives in an apartment less than 20 feet from the spot where Strickland was found, said he found the body while clearing bamboo at the end of the apartment parking lot.
Turner, 50, said crime is rare in the area, which is less than one block from Killeen City Hall. No gunshots were reported in recent weeks, he said.
“It is very ironic for something to happen on Root Avenue, for something like this right next to the mayor’s office, the code enforcement and the police department,” Turner said. “This place is the safest property that I own.”
Strickland’s family declined to comment for this story.